Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Unstats for Unemployment

So just poking a bit at the news with the latest labor force data that came out yesterday..

PG headline: Region's jobless rate falls a little.   The drop was 4/10ths of a percent was one of the largest month over month drops in a decade.  The only bigger drop was what is reported between Dec 2010 and Jan 2011 where there was a -0.7 point drop.  I bet that has more to do with some revisions in 2010 more than anything else.  Might forbode some similar out of pattern shifts at the end of this year as well.  So if that was a little, I just wonder what would constitute a moderate drop in the unemployment rate?  Honestly, it is a sampling artifact most likely, but so was the jump in unemployment rate reported last month.   Wait until the next revision when the data gets matched to more complete payroll data and I bet there will be some surprises for the region.

Trib also tried to discount it with this line of explanation "The jobless rate fell mainly because schools reopened and rehired staff, adding 7,200 jobs, state and area economists said. "  Which just isn't true.  These are seasonally adjusted numbers being reported on.  So let's go back over a decade and look at all the month over months changes between respective Augusts and Septembers. I am pretty sure schools always open up again in September, yet there rarely is a drop in the unemployment rate.. sometimes even an increase. So that isn't the story at all. See:

Period Civilian Labor Force Employment Unemployment Unemployment Rate (%) Report
2011 September 1,227,200 1,136,000 91,200 7.4 Time
2011 August 1,229,700 1,133,500 96,200 7.8 Time
2010 September 1,214,100 1,118,700 95,400 7.9 Time
2010 August 1,215,600 1,119,900 95,700 7.9 Time
2009 September 1,213,200 1,118,000 95,200 7.8 Time
2009 August 1,218,100 1,124,400 93,700 7.7 Time
2008 September 1,231,800 1,165,800 66,000 5.4 Time
2008 August 1,231,100 1,165,800 65,400 5.3 Time
2007 September 1,210,000 1,155,900 54,100 4.5 Time
2007 August 1,207,400 1,154,800 52,600 4.4 Time
2006 September 1,204,600 1,149,200 55,400 4.6 Time
2006 August 1,202,600 1,145,200 57,400 4.8 Time
2005 September 1,201,800 1,138,700 63,100 5.3 Time
2005 August 1,200,700 1,139,500 61,100 5.1 Time
2004 September 1,199,100 1,132,000 67,100 5.6 Time
2004 August 1,198,700 1,130,600 68,100 5.7 Time
2003 September 1,199,000 1,128,400 70,600 5.9 Time
2003 August 1,197,400 1,127,800 69,600 5.8 Time
2002 September 1,218,900 1,150,800 68,100 5.6 Time
2002 August 1,218,900 1,150,600 68,300 5.6 Time
2001 September 1,210,000 1,151,000 59,100 4.9 Time
2001 August 1,204,800 1,146,200 58,600 4.9 Time

and just something to ponder a bit..  Other than for September 2008, the regional labor force is the highest it has ever been in any September ever.  All while at least nationally labor force participation is down significantly over the last few years.

Anyway... just an update on my graphic showing the difference between the local and national unemployment rates.  Now at 60 straight months of faring better than the nation.  Well into historic territory for Pittsburgh where this has never been recorded before over such a long period of time.


Anonymous The Wiz said...

Here's my theory; In April a lot of schools were forced to make draconian cuts in staffing due to the budget crisis in Harrisburg. The proposed state budget had huge cuts in education and schools, by law, had to do annual budgets based on those cuts. Thus unemployment jumped.
Then, the budget was passed with much smaller cuts in education funding, allowing schools to hire back many of those people but not all. So the data shows a hiring spree as schools opened but it is still below last year's levels so unemployment is up.

My sister is an educator and I know this is what happened at her school.

And of course....Ohio Utica

Wednesday, November 02, 2011 10:56:00 AM  
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