Labor Markets - February 2009
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the Sixth District states lost a net 80,000 jobs in December from a month earlier on a seasonally adjusted basis. This drop marked the eleventh consecutive month of job losses for the District. The nation as a whole lost 577,000 jobs in December.
Employment figures for the District in November were revised downward significantly from preliminary reports, from –98,200 to –143,300. All District states lost jobs in December except Louisiana, the only state in the nation to add jobs. District states as a whole lost a little over half a million jobs in 2008, half of which were lost in Florida alone. Florida shed 263,700 jobs in 2008, the second-highest job decline in the nation after California.
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Payroll Employment Momentum
Employment momentum for all Sixth District states, except Louisiana, as well as the United States (less the Sixth District states) deteriorated further in December. Louisiana gained some short-term momentum, which could be a result of the state regaining jobs lost during the September hurricanes.
The overall unemployment rate for the Sixth District increased to 7.7 percent in December from 7.0 percent in November, above the national rate of 7.2 percent (on a seasonally adjusted basis). Note: The national unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent for January; the Sixth District states' unemployment rates for January will be released March 11.
Districtwide initial claims remained high in January, consistent with the surge in layoff announcements across the nation. Continuing claims spiked in December, a clear indication that people who have lost their jobs are having difficulty finding new employment. In Alabama, continuing claims were up over 100 percent in December compared to a year earlier. Roughly one-third of these claims were in Alabama's manufacturing sector. Rising unemployment claims signal that future labor market growth will be weak.