Monday, May 26, 2014

Were the 1970s a Golden Age for Young Workers?

With new graduates (high school and college) coming into the workforce in May and June, maybe some dream of a Golden Age when all young workers found employment?

With the current wave of nostalgia, maybe they dream of an era before they were born, back in the 1970s?

Nostalgia can be a terrible thing when it blurs the reality of the past.

Yes, there were recessions, even in the 1970s, and by some measures, young workers are better off coming out of this most recent recession than they were back in the spring of 1971, a few months after the 1969-1970 recession had ended in November 1970.

Young Adults (age 20 - 24). 
April-1971   April-2014
Labor Force Participation Rate 67.4 69.2
Employment - Population Ratio 61.1 62.3
Unemployment Rate 9.4 10.0
Employed 9,888,000 13,765,000
Unemployed 1,027,000 1,521,000
Not In Labor Force 5,271,000 6,820,000
Data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, not seasonally adjusted.

The unemployment rate is higher today than in 1971 (9.4 in 1971 vs. 10.0 today), but a higher percentage of young adults are working (61.1 in 1971 vs. 62.3 percent today).

While there are 1.5 million more young adults not in the labor force today than in 1971, there are also almost 3.9 million more employed than in 1971.

Is today’s job market difficult? Yes.

But it was also difficult in 1971. As Sylvia Porter wrote in May 1972, “Still below the job projections made in the late 1960s for this year [1972], but moderately better than they were in catastrophic 1971.”  – Lewiston Daily Sun, May 4, 1972

A Golden Age for Young Workers? Only in nostalgic movies.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Very Good April follows a Good March

In April 2014, Georgia’s nonfarm employment rose by a statistically significant 14,600 jobs, seasonally adjusted. That follows a revision upward for the March data, which moved up from a preliminary report of 14,600 new jobs to 16,900, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics news release.

Over the month, industries with notable changes included Leisure and Hospitality, which had disappointed in the preliminary March data report. In April, the industry came roaring back by adding 7,200 jobs over the month, as well as being revised upward by 900 jobs for March. Within Leisure and Hospitality, most of the employment and employment growth has centered on Food Services and Drinking Places. 

Professional and Business Services added 5,100 jobs in April, while Wholesale Trade disappointed with a drop of 2,600 jobs over the month. The Information industry was also a disappointment, creating no net new jobs in April leaving employment in this industry essentially flat for the first four months of 2014.

Over the past 12 months, Georgia nonfarm employment has added 76,400 jobs, an increase of 1.9 percent, which is a faster rise than for the nation as a whole where employment has risen by 1.7 percent. After a slow start of recovery from the Great Recession, Georgia employment recovery has picked up speed in 2013 and 2014.

Over the past 12 months, the Construction industry employment has risen by 6.6 percent (9,500 jobs), while Professional and Business Services and Leisure and Hospitality industries have added more than 20,000 jobs each (3.6 and 5 percent, respectively). The only two sectors with net losses over the year have been Information (down 800 jobs) and Government (losing 9,000 jobs).

Georgia Nonfarm Employment 12-month Percentage Change, January 2000 to April 2014, Not Seasonally Adjusted