The Bureau of Labor Statistics released employment data for the Augusta Metropolitan Statistical Area last Thursday. Employment fell by 900 in August from July. The chart below shows the rollercoaster ride we have been on in the local area over the last year. Employment rose from August 2022 through November as the chain pulled the roller-coaster up the first hill. We then plummeted down the first drop, losing 3,000 jobs in two months. Another drop followed a mini recovery in February (just to make your stomach go queasy!). A long steady climb to the second peak occurred between March and July, only for the final drop to return us to the beginning and where we were a year ago.
Many sectors of the local economy suffered job losses in August, including education and health services, government, leisure, and hospitality. These three sectors account for over 100,000 local jobs.
Good news is to be found in manufacturing. Employment increased by 140 jobs in August from July and now stands at the highest level in almost 20 years (since December 2003). In fact, manufacturing is only 5,300 jobs off the peak employment level of April 1995. Manufacturing employment has grown by 5,400 since April 2020, an admittedly low base due to the Covid lockdowns.