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Employment: Bad news nationally is really bad news for the Southeast

Last week and earlier this week macroblog discussed recent reports from the labor market: the June employment report and the May Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, commonly known as JOLTS. The analysis points out that recent data from the labor market have been, well, rather disappointing.

I would argue that a disappointing labor market at the national level is amplified here in the Southeast. Why? The downturn in employment during the recession was deeper in this region than in most other areas in the country, and the job recovery has been more anemic here than anywhere else.

Here's a look at what I mean:

Employment Losses During Downturn and Gains During Recovery

Looking at the Atlanta Federal Reserve District, we see that this region shed 10.1 percent of total employment during the downturn (the red bar) and has only gained 2.3 percent during the recovery. I use the terms "downturn" and "recovery" liberally: what the chart represents is each District's employment loss from its peak to when job losses ended (downturn) and gains since employment levels stopped falling (recovery). Only the Chicago Fed and San Francisco Fed regions saw larger downturns, but none have seen a more feeble recovery than we here in the Atlanta region.

So when we see national labor market trends that show weakness in employment gains, it is particularly bad news here in the Southeast.

Photo of Michael ChrisztBy Mike Chriszt, an assistant vice president in the Atlanta Fed's research department

July 14, 2011 in Business Cycles , Labor Markets | Permalink


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