Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tracking the Recession in Metro Dayton

An update of the Recession comes to Dayton post measuring how the Dayton metropolitan statistical area (or MSA) slipped into hard times. This time Daytonology investigates the past few months of job gains and losses and compares them with the last two "good" years, 2006 and 2007.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics employment numbers are used instead of unemployment due to the funky way the unemployment numbers are arrived at. People who fall of the unemployment rolls don't count as "unemployment". So the unemployment numbers can improve as people exhaust their benefits and are no longer counted, even if they still don't have a job.

A better measure is counting how much employment--jobs--a local economy is producing, or shedding. So that is the number used here.

The graph is monthly private sector employment, which rises and drops based on the month and season. If one graphs enough years a pattern emerges, which one can see in 2006 and 2006:

1. A low in January
2. Increases in jobs during the winter, spring and peaking in June
3. A dip in the summer.
4. Another seasonal high in December.
5. A big dip between December and January.

And one can see how 2008 deviated from the monthly employment "pulse" , losing job sover the year before crashing in the fall and winter.

Yet, it seems that the local economy is following the pattern of employment growth after January.

Comparing 2009 with 2006 and 2007

A closer comparison of 2009 with 2006 & 2007 demonstrates that job creation in 2009 has been quite anemic, with February being the trough, losing about 800 jobs over the January low, but then making them up again in March. There is small employment growth in April and May. Compare this with the fairly robust seasonal employment gains in 2006 and 2007.

Yet doing a side-by-side comparison of month-to-month numbers it's interesting to see the close match in the April-May numbers, which seems to indicate that the 2009 economy is performing close to 2007 and 2006 in generating jobs, for that one month.

It will be interesting to see if the economy starts to follow the 2006-2007 pattern for the rest of the year. If so one can expect one more month of job growth (from May to June ), then a dip in July and August.

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