Friday, August 01, 2008
The Bureau of Labor Statistics issued its July Employment report and it gave cold comfort to those who deny we are in a national economic recession. The July unemployment rate rose to 5.7% from a June rate of 5.5%. In contrast, Wichita's unemployment rate was 4.3% in June.
Payrolls fell by 51,000 jobs. Wichita's export base is still doing well. The Labor Bureau does not break out the aircraft industry in its report, but by my analysis of their data jobs grew in the industry by about 1.3% over last year. In contrast many local companies serving other markets have experienced weak demand over the last year.
One measure of how the economy is doing is the ratio of jobs to the American population. Although it is a little noisy from month to month, it portrays the fundamental trends (see the chart.) In this recession the employment ratio has fallen by 107 basis points (1.07 percentage points.) That is mild in comparison with prior recessions: either we have a lot more pain ahead or we are in a very mild recession.