Jobs Data

I promised in a reply to a comment on a previous post that I would provide some perspective on the monthly jobs data.  I’ve often said in my comments that the month-to-month swings can be volatile and it’s really only the longer term trends that can be relied on as a reliable indicator of Barrie’s economic strength, and whether we’re truly seeing an increase in employment or not.

For info:  here is the average annual unemployment rate by year back to 2007, just before the recession.  2013 is based on only two months of data so far, but remember these are rolling 3 month averages – so it really reflects survey data from Barrie from Nov 2012 through Feb 2013.

2007

5.0%

2008

5.5%

2009

9.4%

2010

9.6%

2011

9.5%

2012

8.5%

2013*

7.2%

* 2013 data is year-to-date

Pretty clear trend, even going back 18 months to late 2011 when the rate spiked.

February’s data was another blockbuster month: unemployment down to 7.0%, employment up another 3,700 jobs.  You heard it here first though: these results are too strong to continue, there will almost certainly be some sort of correction in the coming months I think.  Still, this matches what we’re hearing from organizations like Manpower, as reported here.

Again I need to say – these are statistics, based on a survey.  They’re not comprehensive, and they don’t tell the stories behind the numbers – such as whether the jobs created are stable and well-paid, or not (truth is – some are, some aren’t).  They’re a broad measure of how we’re doing.  The full story can only be seen in what we see around us in the community: in the demand for social services, in the strength of other markets such as the housing market, and in the stories I hear from people all the time about their experiences looking for jobs.