Labor Markets - March 2008Data and Analysis
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released on March 28, the states of the Sixth District lost an estimated net 11,900 jobs in February 2008 from a month earlier on a seasonally adjusted basis. Georgia added 2,100 to payrolls, Alabama 600, and Louisiana 300. Florida lost 13,600 jobs in February, Mississippi lost 800 jobs, and Tennessee lost 500 jobs.
In January, Georgia added 20,700 jobs, Florida added 8,500 jobs, and Mississippi added 1,000 jobs while Alabama lost 2,400 jobs, Louisiana lost 2,000 jobs, and Tennessee lost 9,100 jobs.
On a year-over-year basis in February, Alabama added an estimated 15,400 jobs, Georgia added 44,700 jobs, Louisiana added 34,000 jobs, Mississippi added 4,400 jobs and Tennessee added 6,600 jobs, but Florida lost 27,700 jobs.
The overall unemployment rate for the region was 4.7 percent in February. From January to February, the unemployment rate declined from 4 percent to 3.7 percent in Alabama, from 4 percent to 3.7 percent in Louisiana, and from 6 percent to 5.9 percent in Mississippi. The rate held steady at 4.6 percent in Florida and increased from 4.9 percent to 5.2 percent in Georgia and from 4.9 percent to 5.3 percent in Tennessee.
Regional unemployment claims numbers at the end of February were not encouraging. The data show that labor market conditions are worsening in most areas of the District. Equally troubling is the fact that the District’s rising initial unemployment claims (IUC) have been accompanied by gains in continuing unemployment claims (CUC) in all District states, suggesting that it is becoming more difficult for people who lost their jobs to find new employment.
The CUC are rising faster in Florida and Georgia, with about 40,000 and 9,000 more people, respectively, receiving unemployment insurance benefits at the end of 2007 compared with late 2006. On a year-over-year basis, CUC were up 45 percent in Florida and 22 percent in Georgia. Through December 2007, monthly CUC data by industry for Georgia were led by higher claims from the professional scientific and technical services, manufacturing, retail trade, and construction industries. Florida’s double-digit gains in CUC during most recent months were driven by layoffs in the construction industry, which are now spreading into other areas. December claims in Florida were largest in Administration and Support industries (20,000), construction (13,625), retail trade (7,957), and manufacturing (8,000).