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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ain't It Cute

Florida unemployment 2007:
May SA: 3.4%
May NSA: 3.2%

June SA: 3.5%
June NSA: 3.8%

July SA: 3.9%
July NSA: 4.2%

California unemployment in July: 5.3%. A year ago it was 4.8%.

North Carolina Unemployment: SA went from 4.6% in Jan to 5.0% in July. NSA went from 5.0% to 5.2%.

Michigan Unemployment: 7.2% in July. 20,000 payroll jobs lost in one month, and 67,000 payroll jobs lost over the last year. Michigan was already in a deep slump by July of last year, but unemployment then was only 6.9%.

PA is an interesting one: Its unemployment rate has dropped substantially over the last year (4.7% > 4.3%), but its total payroll employment has also dropped, moving from 6,006,000 > 5,993,000. So the drop in unemployment was created by a drop in working population of 42,000 over the year (on a seasonally adjusted basis).

Nevada: 4.9% in July SA; was 4.6% in June, was 4.2% a year ago. As for job growth there appears to be weakening trend (unless you're Sebastian):

Arizona. No need really to look past the headline "Arizona’s Unemployment Rate at 3.7 Percent in July as Nonfarm Jobs Decline by 18,800." They have it in red, so I put it in red. I think it's a hint of displeasure at the proceedings. The whole report states that the unemployment rate went up 0.3% from June to July. The full report notes that service industries lost 20,000 jobs and business and professional lost 500 jobs. Arizona is still doing better than a year ago, although the growth rate for employment has slowed very significantly.

Washington State: SA unemployment increased from 4.5% in June to 4.9% in July. Employment growth has slowed since last year, but this rate was still .1% less than July 2006. Construction is still the number 2 growth sector for jobs.

New Jersey announced firmly that the job picture in the state was getting much better, regardless of the fact that unemployment jumped from a steady 4.3% in the last few months to 4.6% in July. One assumes that the unemployed persons disagree with the interpretation. On the other hand, their total employment number is rising whereas PA's is falling, so perhaps one could make a case for that interpretation on a regional basis.

New York published nice NSA numbers, which show that NSA unemployment rose from 4.5% in June to 5.0% in July, although that number was only .1% over last year's 4.9%. Unemployment in NYC has increased to 6.1% from last year's 5.6%. SA went from 4.7% in June to 4.9% in July, with SA NYC increasing from 5.3% to 5.7%.

Georgia does things a little differently. For one thing, it does not screw around with frivolities such as seasonal adjustments. The bottom line is that overall employment grew over the last year but recent trends in initial claims are not that great. GA NSA unemployment in July was 4.9% in comparison to 5.0% last year.

Ohio showed a pattern very similar to PA's. The unemployment rate dropped in July in comparison to June (6.1% > 5.8%), but so did total jobs, which fell by 8,400. Generally this is not a good sign. Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment fell by 1,600. YoY the unemployment rate increased from 5.6% to 5.8%.

Illinois follows a New Jersey like strategy of extolling its superior job gains. Yet the IL SA unemployment rate increased from 5.1% in June to 5.2% in July and SA total jobs dropped 11,500 over the month. In July 2006, the SA UI rate was 4.4%. They do know how to put a positive face on it, however:
July was the 19th consecutive month in which over-the-year job gains exceeded 50,000 new jobs, the longest stretch since July 1999. Illinois has ranked first in the nation in the number of new jobs twice in the last six months (January 2007 with 18,900 new jobs and June 2007 with 11,800). Illinois employers have increased payroll employment by an average of +3,200 new jobs per month since January. Since January 2004, Illinois has added 186,000 jobs, which are more new jobs than any Midwest state.
I am sure this is true, but if so it is a reflection of overall weakness in employment trends for the nation and in the region, and I doubt job seekers will be sharing the joy.

Texas (Economagic): SA unemployment rate rose from 4.1% in June to 4.4% in July. Texas' SA rate is still better than last year's 4.9%.

Virginia (Economagic)
: 3.0% SA, up from 2.9% in June, equal to last year's 3.0%.

The stats for every state in the nation at the BLS. If you select the item to show one month net change, you see that most of the nation is in the 0 - 0.9 range.

States ranked by population at Wikipedia. You will notice that I have covered all of the top 12, amounting to 58% of the entire population of the US. I also added a few. Overall, the picture is of a significant weakening in employment. It is true that the unemployment RATE in some large states is not rising, but when overall payroll employment is dropping, that is not a sign of growth either.

Because of the drop in employment rate (i.e. workforce) in some states, unemployment rates and trends look better than they really are, and when one looks at the data in more detail a recent pattern of weakening is very evident. This is no doubt why the federal government has abruptly decided to enforce the laws against hiring illegal aliens. Last year employment was in a strong growth mode for much of the year. This year the trend is reversing itself.

Here in the "People's Republic of Puget Sound" unemployment is running at about 4.3%. Basically anyone who wants to work is working. Boeing is on a roll. Microsoft is doing OK. Our bio-techs are doing well. All in all a pretty rosy picture.

I sold my home last month for $20,0000 less than asking price (a 3% decrease) because I had already made a big down payment on a new place and needed to sell. The market is slower than last year, but well located homes at realistic prices are moving.

Our self employed daughter bought a new home in July in Lake Stevens and managed to get a decent loan.

I closed on a loan for my new home with Countrywide last week, so money is still available here.

We didn't have a real estate mania here. Prices went up and there has been a lot of building, but not many speculators and not a lot of sub-prime lending.

If Boeing slows, or Microsoft cuts back, or the bio-techs start laying off it could get grim here too.
Jimmy, thanks for the read.

I hope it won't bust there. Boeing has a big backlog of orders. I think the private jet market is due to slow down quite a bit, but with any luck there'll be a couple more good years.

The sad part is that Boeing is a huge positive contributor to industrial production at this point, and has been since last year.

Even in recessions, some areas should continue to do well. And even in great booms, some areas are left out.
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