Marketplace Scratch Pad

Equal opportunity unemployment

Scott Jagow Sep 3, 2009

All eyes will be on the monthly employment report released tomorrow morning. I’m keeping my expectations low, but maybe we’ll see the glimmer of a turnaround in the job market. It can’t get much worse than the past year, if you look at those numbers. The story is the same, whether you live in a city of decline or a boom town.

This week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics gave us the figures for the year ending in July. Every metropolitan area, all 372 of them, had a higher unemployment rate, year over year. That’s the seventh straight month of that happening.

In terms of raw numbers, 97 of the top 100 labor markets had a percentage loss of jobs. The exceptions were the Texas
border towns of McAllen-Edinburg and El Paso, plus Baton Rouge, La.

The biggest losers, in raw numbers, were LA, Chicago and NY. Hardly a surprise. More interesting are the percentages. The two major cities with the highest percentage of job losses were Phoenix and Detroit. It’s been a long time since a boom town like Phoenix has been mentioned in the same breath with Detroit. Of course, it makes perfect sense given what happened in the boom town housing markets.

More from the BLS, emphasis mine:

Among the 19 areas with jobless rates of at least 15.0 percent, 8 were located in California and 5 were in Michigan. Bismarck, N.D., registered the lowest jobless rate in July, 3.1 percent, followed by Fargo, N.D.-Minn., and Rapid City, S.D., 4.2 percent each…

The large areas with the lowest jobless rates in July were Oklahoma City, Okla., 5.9 percent, and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va., 6.2 percent.

Speaking of the government, it’s not the only entity employing people to gather data on jobs. Private firms are predicting worse numbers for August than the government. From the San Francisco Business Times:

A Sausalito investment research business says the United States lost 335,000 jobs in August, which is nearly 50 percent more than government guesses.

TrimTabs Investment Research guesses, based on daily income tax deposits, that the U.S. economy has lost 5.9 million jobs in the last year, the most recorded in records back to 1970.

TrimTabs ended its report saying, “While many investors are convinced the recession is over, real-time indicators show the economy has not yet bottomed, let alone started to recover.”

Ewwww. Gag me with a spoon.

The more cheerful payroll business ADP, in its jobs report, said, “Employment losses are clearly diminishing.”

But for those who aren’t feeling the diminishing, you better listen to Resume Richard:

Nice ad. Hat tip, unemploymentality.com.

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