Labor Markets - June 2008
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the states of the Sixth District lost an estimated net 3,300 jobs in May from a month earlier on a seasonally adjusted basis. All District states except Florida and Louisiana added jobs in May. Georgia added 2,200 to payrolls, Alabama added 300, and Mississippi and Tennessee each added 100 jobs. Employment in Louisiana was flat, while Florida lost an estimated 6,000 jobs.
Revisions to April data show net job losses in April in Alabama (3,600), Florida (30,500), Georgia (13,700), Mississippi (200), and Tennessee (10,500). Louisiana added 1,700 jobs in April.
On a year-over-year basis, May job counts were up in Alabama (by 8,500 jobs), Georgia (by 20,900), Louisiana (by 30,800), and Mississippi (by 5,700), but Florida lost 74,700 jobs, and Tennessee lost 6,700 jobs.
Payroll Employment Momentum
Payroll employment momentum for May 2008 was positive but unimpressive for Mississippi and Louisiana (both short- and long-term growth are positive). Georgia, which showed positive employment momentum in April, showed signs of slipping in May. Alabama and the United States (less the states of the Sixth District) were also in the slipping quadrant. Florida and Tennessee both continued to show weakness (both short- and long-term employment trends are negative).
The overall unemployment rate for the region increased to 5.6 percent in May from 5.0 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis. From April to May, the unemployment rate increased from 4.0 percent to 4.7 percent in Alabama, from 5.0 percent to 5.5 percent in Florida, from 5.3 percent to 5.8 percent in Georgia, from 5.9 percent to 6.9 percent in Mississippi, and from 5.4 percent to 6.4 percent in Tennessee; the unemployment rate decreased from 4.1 percent to 4 percent in Louisiana.
Districtwide initial unemployment claims (IUC) at the end of May were 18.1 percent higher than a year earlier. IUC in Florida and Georgia jumped 25 and 29 percent, respectively, above May 2007 levels. Continuing claims for unemployment insurance were also up in all District states, most notably in Florida (53 percent) and Georgia (36 percent). Higher continuing claims suggest that people who have lost their jobs are having more difficulty finding new employment.