Tuesday, March 13, 2012

January Job News: Good, Bad, Insignificant

There was good news, bad news and news of no significance in new job numbers today from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and the state’s Department of Workforce Services.

The insignificance was in the size of the changes from January 2011 to January 2012. The insignificance was both in terms of size—the changes being small—and statistical—the changes also being too small to matter.

As one example, we added all of 300 people to the labor force between December and January, the BLS said, bringing the January labor force total to 920,800 on a seasonally unadjusted basis. The change is both small and statistically insignificant.

That the labor force grew, however slightly, was a switch, a bit of good news.

We added 5,900 wage jobs on a seasonally unadjusted basis and lost 800 with the adjustment. The 5,900 increase is three quarters of one percent.

A piece of very nice news came from DWS. All four of the state’s metro areas added employment, year over year, something that so rare as to be almost forgotten. During 2010, only Santa Fe added jobs.

The four-county Albuquerque metro gained employment, up 1,892. (Note that employment is a slightly different concept from wage jobs. Confusing.) Santa Fe was up 1,496, with Farmington adding 1,207 (a healthy 2.4% jump) and Las Cruces growing by 352.

The metros dominated the statewide employment growth of 6,062, providing 4,947 of the employees. The bad news is that 16 counties lost employment, from January 20120 to January 2011. Most losses were just a few—154 in Socorro County. Rio Arriba County was the loss leader with employment down 779 or 4.4%. January showed employment of 16,985 in Rio Arriba.

Lea County scored the employment good news with growth of 2,030 for a 7.7% increase. Now that’s healthy.

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