All I want for Christmas is a job
As we approach Christmas, the news is all about shopping, celebration, cooking, movies, and anything that goes well with the holiday atmosphere. Reporting about the economy normally may not seem like good Christmas news, especially in the less-than-great economic times that we have experienced over the past few years. Fortunately, things are looking better and good news is always welcome during the Christmas season—right?
What do you mean “looking better?”
It’s hard to talk about the economy getting better when it still seems bad and proving improvement is something difficult to communicate. Tangible results help and if there is anything that numbers can tell us is that some cities are gaining (or losing) more jobs than others. At least this means that we may want to locate ourselves in certain places if we want to increase our odds of finding work, and if we do that, that is hope of good things to come.
I am person all about solutions: I’ll talk about a problem but I would rather not dwell on it.
Between November 2010 and October 2011, the biggest cities in the country by population added 443,446 jobs. Unemployment in these 250 cities dropped by 7%, on average, during the period.
Here is the data, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and “24/7 Wall St.com” on good and bad cities as far as number of jobs:
5. Vancouver, Washington
> Employed pct. decrease: 2.21%
> Total employed decrease: 1,643
While you would think that a loss in jobs would mean an increase in the unemployment rate, sometimes that is not the case. With Vancouver, the actual unemployment rate dropped due to a major decrease in the size of the labor force, or employable people who are in the area and are looking for jobs.
4. Tacoma, Washington
> Employed pct. decrease: 2.28%
> Total employed decrease: 2,080
Tacoma lost more than 2,000 jobs between last November and this October. Even as the holiday season approaches, the city is considering cutting hundreds of positions among police, firefighters and other public servants. Yikes.
3. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
> Employed pct. decrease: 2.43%
> Total employed decrease: 2,435
2. Spokane, Washington
> Employed pct. decrease: 3.61%
> Total employed decrease: 3,437
1. Abilene, Texas
> Employed pct. decrease: 5.62%
> Total employed decrease: 3,111
Unemployment in Abilene was 6.9% in October, well below the Texas average of 8.4%, as well as the national average of 9%. The city is, however, doing substantially worse than it was 12 months prior.
Cities doing better
5. Miami, Florida
> Employed pct. increase: 4.28%
> Total employed increase: 7,334
Gambling may be bad for your wallet, but it can do wonders for an economy. According to NPR, there are also plans in the works to develop a $3 billion casino in the city. If a success, the proposed casino, which would become the largest in the world, likely would bring in hundreds — if not thousands — of additional jobs.
4. Bakersfield, California
> Employed pct. increase: 4.88%
> Total employed increase: 6,613
3. Springfield, Missouri
> Employed pct. increase: 4.96%
> Total employed increase: 3,610
2. Pueblo, Colorado
> Employed pct. increase: 5.3%
> Total employed increase: 2,432
1. Fort Wayne, Indiana
> Employed pct. increase: 6.36%
> Total employed increase: 7,052
In just one year, Fort Wayne has added more than 7,000 jobs, increasing its employed population by some 6.4%. The unemployment rate dropped from 10.7% to 8.7%.
What does this all tell us? Not all cities respond the same to these tough times and knowing what is working for one city might help us fix what is going wrong in another. While building a casino in every city is certainly not a logical solution, having a new company build a plant, for example, might be a great start to boosting those number in the positive direction. Every new job makes a difference and since our biggest cities are adding thousands of new jobs, there is at least some evidence that this weak economy may soon be a thing of the past.
According to the local news, however, the big shopping mall is super crowded regardless.