Labor Markets - May 2008
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the states of the Sixth District lost an estimated net 51,800 jobs in April from a month earlier on a seasonally adjusted basis. The job losses are the highest since the 2001 recession, with the exception of job losses of 86,500 in September 2005, when Hurricane Katrina affected payrolls. Louisiana added an estimated 600 to payrolls in April. All other District states lost jobs: Florida lost 25,300 jobs; Georgia lost 14,200 jobs; and Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee lost 100, 1,500, and 11,300 jobs, respectively.
Revisions to March data show that Florida and Georgia lost a net of 19,500 jobs and 4,800 jobs, respectively, in March, while Alabama and Tennessee lost 300 jobs each. Louisiana and Mississippi added 400 jobs and 2,100 jobs, respectively.
On a year-over-year basis, April job counts were up in Alabama (by 13,400 jobs), Georgia (by 25,800), Louisiana (by 33,700), and Mississippi (by 7,500), but Florida lost 64,500 jobs, and Tennessee lost 4,900 jobs.
Payroll Employment Momentum
The payroll employment momentum analysis (see the chart) for April 2008 shows Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana with positive but unimpressive employment momentum (both short- and long-term growth are positive). Alabama, like the United States less the states of the Sixth District, shows slipping employment momentum. Florida and Tennessee both show weak employment momentum negative (both short- and long-term growth are negative).
The overall unemployment rate for the region held steady at 5.0 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis. In April, the unemployment rate decreased from 4.1 percent to 4.0 percent in Alabama, from 4.5 percent to 4.1 percent in Louisiana, from 6.0 percent to 5.9 percent in Mississippi, and from 5.5 percent to 5.4 percent in Tennessee; the unemployment rate in Florida and Georgia held steady at 4.9 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively.
Districtwide initial unemployment claims (IUC) and continuing unemployment claims (CUC) at the end of April were, respectively, 30 and 35 percent higher from the same period in 2007, putting them far above the comparable rates for the nation as a whole. Labor market conditions appear to be weakening, especially in Florida and Georgia. IUC in Florida and Georgia jumped 43 percent and 55 percent, respectively, above April 2007 levels. Higher CUC in most District states suggests that people who have lost their jobs are having more difficulty finding new employment.