Tuesday, November 02, 2010

48 months

With the latest unemployment stats being reported it has now been a full 4 years since the regional unemployment rate was higher than the nation's. Though nobody mentions that trend.  Not just that factoid, but there are a few other things that pop up from the data worth noting.  As the Trib version mentions in its very last line, the data just released for September is the first time since 2007 that the year over year change in the unemployment rate has not been up.  I'll just point out that a drop of 3/10ths of a percentage point in the unemployment rate over a single month is about as fast a drop as you can get in a stat like that.  A drop much bigger than that and something artifically lumpy must have happened, like maybe one of the larger strikes of the past coming to an end or something like that.  I count only 2 instances in the last decade where the unemployment drop over a given month was larger than that... and one of those months was earlier this year, so you are talking a pretty fast and consistent drop in the local unemployment rate through all of 2010 thus far.

G20 or not, manifestations of Pittsburgh pessimism continue to pop up.   More often than not when I point out some version of the 48 months factoid, if it someone from Pittsburgh they retort that the recession will eventually catch up to us and it will be even worse here.  It is a belief that reflects another one of those myths that we always lag into recessions, but then peak higher and then lag getting out.  It just is something that has not been true for decades and did not manifest itself in the most recent recessions before this one.  If the current trend continues we are leading out of the recession pretty fast.  If the national unemployment rate dropped by as much as it has in Pittsburgh in the last 7 months (from 8.8% in February to 7.9% in the latest data) then I bet more than a few things would be different in both the national economy, but also the politics of the election today. 

Speaking of the nexus of politics and the economy... in light of these stats this is pretty interesting:  Economic Cycle Could Boost Winners.


Anonymous BrianTH said...

Some total civilian labor force number-crunching. This is all year-over-year, using unadjusted numbers:

Nationally up 0.15%.

Pennsylvania up 0.03%.

Pittsburgh Metro up 0.38%.

Allegheny County up 0.66%.

City of Pittsburgh up 0.91%.


Tuesday, November 02, 2010 10:13:00 AM  

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