Saturday, July 21, 2007

Unemployment Numbers

A recent discussion on the Plain Dealer's website got me thinking about metropolitan unemployment levels. The big concern in the Cleveland area (and it's been a big concern ever since the PD started its "Quiet Crisis" series something like 5 years ago) is what's called "brain drain". The phenomenon of brain drain is, roughly put, that smart, well-educated recent college grads move out of their home territory for better jobs abroad. This has been a big issue in the Cleveland area; a lot of kids get their educations and take off for better jobs elsewhere. Many of them don't return, so it ends up as a net loss for the region.

On that note, is unemployment really that bad in the Cleveland area? According to these statistics from the BLS, it may be. It's particularly interesting to compare actual metropolitan unemployment rates to the regions' respective reputations:

Cleveland clocks in at 5.6% (up from 5.0% a year ago), which is not so hot. Out here in the Twin Cities, we're at a very strong 4.0%, although last year we had a stunning 3.2% rate. At 3.2%, it's one hell of a competitive market for workers: wages are driven up fast (then again, that's how you get inflation!). Portland (Oregon) surprises me at 4.5%. This is a surprise because Portland has a reputation for a really difficult job market. I suspect that the 4.5% unemployment rate there reflects the regional, rather than urban, job market.

Many of the cities on the list show an uptick of around 0.5% in unemployment over the past year. Are we heading for a recession?

If you've looked for work recently, how has the process been for you? Are jobs plentiful or scarce?


Blogger Generalissimo said...

Econ 101: Distinguishing between a recession and a depression

An inquiring student asked his economics professor to clarify the difference between a recession and a depression.

The professor, realizing the power of plain language, spoke in basic terms:

"Son, a recession is when your neigbhor is out of work. A depression is when you're out of a job!"

1:13 PM  

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