Fri, April 12, 2024

Simon Says: Tiny sliver of light in local job level

On Friday, November 3, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the U.S. unemployment rate for October inched up to 3.9% from 3.8% in September. The U.S. economy added 150,000 jobs in October, down from 297,000 in September. Job gains were seen in healthcare and government while manufacturing employment fell due to strike activity.

In Augusta, the most recent employment data is for September. The unemployment rate remains at 3.8% as it has been since May. The employment level is 245,300, up 1,200 from August. This is the highest employment level since Covid, surpassing the 245,200 of November 2022.

The chart below shows the percentage change in employment in the U.S. and Augusta since May 2020. While the U.S. has seen declining job growth, it has always been positive except for one month. In contrast, the Augusta jobs growth has been more uneven, with eight months showing declining numbers. Also, in contrast to national data, health and educational services in Augusta have lost over one thousand jobs since June.

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Update on previous forecasts:

  • Congratulations to South Africa who beat New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final. I had predicted an Ireland – France final.
  • Congratulations to India who have made it through to the playoff stage of the cricket World Cup. South Africa and Australia have also qualified, but my prediction of England in the final is in ruin. They lost six of their first seven games and cannot make the playoffs.
  • Finally, I have found a more unwanted chocolate than Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – the Peppermint Pattie.

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