Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Watching Employment in the Jell-O Economy

Based on advice in a speech by national economist Alan Beaulieu last Fall, I've been watching employment instead of the more conventional approach of watching unemployment. 

My interpretation of Beaulieu's lesson was that, predictably, employment will show signs of economic recovery sooner than unemployment will.  Employment gains are positive signs of recovery.  Employment could gain even when the unemployment rate doesn't.

Today, the State of Ohio published unemployment rates for the month of July.  Amongst all the numbers were employment levels.

It's a fact.  Licking County is now on par with the high point of employment for the year at a 76,500 employment level. 

It's a fact that 2,600 more people employed this July than were employed in Licking County in January.

Here are Licking County employment numbers by month for 2010 as reported by the Ohio LMI Division:

What are we to read into this?  Choose your poison.

Choose to see the positive.  Five out of six months have seen increases in employment. The one month that didn't increase, June, could be explained by loss of U.S. Census jobs.  There are reasons to be upbeat about the economy on its way to a continued recovery.

Choose to see otherwise.  Only April and May have seen statistically significant employment gains and the trend line is flat-lining.  The economy is potentially heading for a double dip.

See the problem? 

In this "Jell-O" economy, its hard to get your hands on what the real economic situation truly is.

No comments:

Post a Comment