Friday, June 03, 2011

The semi-record

So I feel obliged to update my graphic on the region's relative unemployment rate.  The region's data for April came out the other day and with the region at 6.8% unemployment we are coming in 2.2% points below the nation's 9.0% for April.  The latest on the nation's unemployment rate is that it ticked up in May to 9.1%. 

For us though, the 2.2% point difference is tied with one recent month in 2009 as the largest difference between local and national unemployment rates since at least 1970.  I emphasize the at least part since I have not compiled a consistent time series further into the past and I suspect you would have to go quite a ways to find any comparable gap, if it really exists.  Probably did in a theoretical sense in the middle of WWII only in that our local unemployment rate then was probably negative.. but since we don't really talk about negative unemployment rates that wouldn't count.

And this is my personal perspective on studying regions, but you really don't want to measure just where we are at on the vertical axis at any point in time.  Look at the two dimensional areas on this chart for periods when we are above or below the national average (zero on this chart).  One month can be all sorts of things, but when you really compare areas you get a sense for a) how bad the 1980's were for us, and how different the last few years are compared to most any point in our recent history.


Anonymous DBR96A said...

If the national unemployment rate is indeed 9.1% like I've heard some people say it is, then that sets a new record for Pittsburgh's difference below it.

Saturday, June 04, 2011 11:11:00 PM  

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