Spokane MSA Employment and Unemployment for April 2011

Note: The March 2011 unemployment estimate of 10.3 was revised by the State from the 10.5 that was reported last month.

Historical change in unemployment number March to April 2001-2011

The chart above shows the March and April unemployment rates for each year, 2001 to 2011. The yellow line shows the amount that unemployment falls every year, March to April.

Historically, the unemployment rate drops from March to April, and has done so every year since 2001, even during the worst of the downturn. The good news is that this annual spring drop has continued.

The sad news is that while the 1.2 percentile point drop looks dramatic, its less than in 2010, equal to that in 2009 and almost equal to that in 2008 and appears to be the normal, seasonal drop in spring unemployment. At least it dropped on schedule and did not go up! Including all workers (not just non-farm) there were slightly fewer jobs than in April 2010.

Year    Change
2001    0.7
2002    0.8
2003    0.4
2004    1
2005    0.4
2006    0.4
2007    0.6
2008    1
2009    1.2
2010    1.3
2011    1.2

Unfortunately, this ordinary spring drop will be reported as proof that the recession is over in Spokane and jobs are once again plentiful, even though it is on par with the drops in 2008 through 2010. In case you’ve not had your morning coffee – this is mostly the ordinary annual spring drop in unemployment. We are glad that the normal drop is still occurring in spite of continued difficult economic times.

I previously wrote about the seasonality of the unemployment number for SpokaneYear over year, in 2012, the unemployment number for the corresponding month will probably be about one percent lower than this year as the recovery slowly improves the job market situation. As seen in the chart, April 2011 is 0.6 points lower than in April 2010, and January through March were even better than that versus 2010.

I’d like to dig into the numbers even more but I have already used my allotted time for this blog this week! I’d like to look at which job categories are growing – which are likely temporary and which are likely permanent. We want to see growth in the “likely permanent” jobs as that will propel us forward for the longer term.


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