Labor Markets - August 2008
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the states of the Sixth District lost an estimated net 35,400 jobs in July from a month earlier on a seasonally adjusted basis. This is the fifth consecutive month of job losses. The largest month-over-month job losses in the nation again occurred in Florida, which lost 21,400 jobs, and in Georgia, which lost 18,900 jobs. Mississippi also lost 3,400 jobs. However, Alabama and Louisiana gained 2,400 and 200 jobs, respectively.
Revisions to June data show net job losses in Florida (29,000), Georgia (13,400), Mississippi (4,300), and Tennessee (3,400). Job gains were reported in Alabama (1,300) and Louisiana (4,600).On a year-over-year basis, July job counts were up in Alabama (by 9,500), Louisiana (by 30,000), and Mississippi (by 800). Job counts were down in Florida (by 96,800), Georgia (by 14,000), and Tennessee (by 13,500).
Payroll Employment Momentum
Payroll employment momentum for July remained strong in Louisiana, which has had consistent positive momentum in recent months. Momentum in Georgia and Mississippi deteriorated as Mississippi dropped into the slipping quadrant and Georgia continued to show signs of weakness. Alabama improved slightly, moving toward positive momentum in July. Florida and Tennessee continued to show weak momentum (both short- and long-term employment trends were negative), although Tennessee showed slight long-term improvement. The United States (less the states of the Sixth District) edged toward the weak quadrant.
The overall unemployment rate for the Sixth District increased to 6.0 percent in July from 5.5 percent in June (on a seasonally adjusted basis). From June to July, the unemployment rate increased in all District states, from 4.7 to 5.1 percent in Alabama, 5.5 to 6.1 percent in Florida, 5.6 to 6.2 percent in Georgia, 3.8 to 3.9 percent in Louisiana, 7.0 to 7.9 percent in Mississippi, and 6.5 to 6.9 percent in Tennessee.
Districtwide initial unemployment claims (IUC) for July were 38 percent higher than a year earlier. IUC jumped 70 percent in Florida, 57 percent in Louisiana, and 31 percent in Georgia compared to July 2007 levels. Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in June continued to rise in all District states compared to a year earlier but either declined or held steady in most District states compared to May 2008 levels. Higher continuing claims suggest that people who have lost their jobs are having more difficulty finding new employment.