Georgia isn’t the only state with a puzzling jobless-rate increase

It seems Georgia is not alone in seeing its unemployment rate tick up over the past few months — or for having an increase that is unsupported by other economic indicators. From the Wall Street Journal:

“Georgia’s unemployment rate has soared from a postrecession low of 6.9% in April at a time when the national rate, which was 5.9% in September, has been steady or falling. Tennessee’s jobless rate bottomed out at 6.3% in April but rose back up to 7.4% by August. Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina have seen similar surges this year.

“The recent numbers have left many economists scratching their heads, unable to explain why unemployment appears on the rise across the South while few other data — unemployment filings, home purchases, corporate hiring — suggest a sudden souring of the region’s economy.

“‘I’m not getting any feedback,— and we talk to people every day, —that’s saying the wheels are falling off Georgia’s economy,’ said John Robertson, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.”

Like Georgia, these other Southern states have also seen their jobless rates rise even as employment has risen:

“Louisiana, for example, saw seasonally adjusted payrolls rise 1.2% from April to August, while the unemployment rate jumped 1.3 percentage points. Georgia’s nonfarm payrolls rose 1% even as the state’s jobless rate climbed 1.2 percentage points in four months. In Tennessee, payrolls have grown 0.6% since April, even as its unemployment rate has climbed to 7.4% from 6.3%.

“A September report from Wells Fargo economists described Georgia’s economy as gaining momentum, with the high unemployment rate as a ‘lone warning sign’ that ‘seemingly flies in the face of common sense.’ The rising rate, they said, may reflect people re-entering the workforce ‘in anticipation of better employment opportunities.'”

None of this means the figures have been fudged for political gain. The numbers can be off-base without being manipulated, and the WSJ piece also notes the Bureau of Labor Statistics is working on changes to its model for estimating state unemployment rates to make it more reliable. That seems like an implicit acknowledgment the current model isn’t as good as it should be.

It is possible the jobless rates in these states are heralding something not being caught by other indicators — although the jobless rate is a lagging indicator, not a leading one. But for now, besides people in certain political campaigns, it seems few people believe Georgia’s economy is as bad as its unemployment rate says it is.

Reader Comments 0

67 comments
coj
coj

Wasn't Obamacare supposed to be a job killer? So Georgia rejected Obamacare and where are the jobs? Especially those jobs related to healthcare? Oh, yeah, they are declining while health concerns are rising.


States that rejected Obamacare have higher unemployment. States that rejected Obamacare have more uninsured and citizens are the most unhealthy. States that rejected Obamacare are the poorest states.

Jazzpman
Jazzpman

Yes Georgia is not the only state with a Republican governor, who could be out of a job soon.

Everything I read there are 8 states with Republican governors now in trouble.  

Seems the Republican way of cutting taxes to help the rich, has done nothing positive in Kansas, where they are something like 35% below the tax revenue they thought they would be bringing in.


Dusty2
Dusty2

Well. I guess we will hear about Perry GA and the debates.  Three people should have been up front there.


Former Prez  Carter should have  a sign reading "Vote for my grandson.",


Former US senator Sam Nunn should have a sign reading "Vote for my daughter."


President Obama should have a sign reading "Vote for Democrats so I can rule." 


Jason and MIchelle have only their family names as qualifications  to run for office.  Nothing else.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

All: I was traveling in South and Middle Georgia yesterday and wasn't able to keep tabs on the blog like I normally do. I thought I would be able to, and in hindsight would have turned off moderation for the day. Lesson learned. My apologies.

I'll have a new post up shortly.

The-Centrist
The-Centrist

"Puzzling"?

You're kidding, right?  There's nothing puzzling about it, Kyle.

Georgia refuses to tax itself to provide adequate transportation, or schools, or hospitals.

Sure some businesses will come, but most look at us and see the backwater that we're becoming. 

Tealiban_Party
Tealiban_Party

Funny how the cons have been crowing for years about how the "true" unemployment rate is several times higher than the reported rate.  But now that their guy is in a tight governor's race, it's a conspiracy against the south due to sample size.

concernedoldtimer
concernedoldtimer

Kyle, I think your explainTion makes perfect sence. I know 4 people who have reinterred the workforce. They were laid off. Drew unemployment, then decided to stay home with children. This past summer all were gainfully employed in new, all paying jobs.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

It's not puzzling.  The problem is the policies of Republicans.


Republican states are "business friendly" which means there are no labor protections in place.  That means that as businesses become more efficient, they lay off workers as soon as they can.  Blue states have unions and protections that keep people employed. 


This syncs with what we are seeing on Wall Street.  Companies are seeing record profits not because of record revenues but because they are cutting costs.  Costs are people.  It also explains the home purchases and corporate hirings.  They are hiring more corporate workers to look over the new outsourced process or hiring one job to run a machine that would have taken 5.


As far as unemployment claims, it probably has to do with the base period.  The people being laid off are likely low skilled workers who are in and out of jobs.  Given how unemployment has been, they probably haven't made enough in the base period to qualify and are not filing because of it.


It's not falsified data or a conspiracy.  The laws the Southern States have are exactly the reason, and its the just another instance, in a very, very, very long line in which Republicans are dead wrong but blaming anyone but themselves.

HeadleyLamar
HeadleyLamar

SAT scores declining...Infrastructure collapsing....Highest unemployment in the nation


Dealie, your doing a heckuva job !!!!

Jazzpman
Jazzpman

So the Police can't tell the difference in this Republican state between Okra and Pot !

Must be the quality training the Republican Administration require the police to obtain.


I wonder if that is what happened when the Republican Judge went to buy Pot for his stripper Girlfriend ?


Any wonder why Georgia ranks so low in Education and Employment ?

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

Wait I am confused! I keep seeing commercials that say our Governor is responsible for bringing so many jobs here to the sate. You know the one right?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eo5jpm_x-pk


How can we be ticking up...or is this just more propaganda for election time?  


Yea right! 

straker
straker

Kyle, Republicans are running against Democratic candidates across the country, not just in the South.


Therefore, fudging the figures for political gain, if its actually happening, would be country wide, not just in the South.

CreamofBuckwheat
CreamofBuckwheat

The great and powerful Oboz has transformed the economy so that it really looks different heh? Full employment with no full-time jobs, livable wages for all, the postal service working seven days a week now and all his Wall Street buddies rich, rich, rich. How is this working for y'all in the middle class? 

Jazzpman
Jazzpman

So why elect deal or another Republican to the Governorship, when Georgia is last in Employment, and close to last in education ?


Imagine being behind Mississippi for anything related to the Government ?

Jazzpman
Jazzpman

Yes Georgia isn't the only State with a Republican Governor either.  The head lines today say Georgia SAT scores are in decline. 


So the Republican's are leaders in both poor employment, and education !


Congratulations Republican's for holding Georgia in the 19th Century. 

As a footnote, what happened to that Republican Judge who bought POT for his Stripper Girlfriend ?  Is he enjoying his retirement with Tax payers Money ?

Seems since he was a Republican Judge, they let him retire first full benefits, before charging him, with his crime !

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

There is no mystery,  only a hoax that has taken10 years of GOP tax giveaways to businesses promising jobs to  expose.  It don't work.   

STHornet1990
STHornet1990

Let's see: Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina

What's the common denominator here?

It's not that hard to figure out why these states suck for job hunters but not for job "creators". LMAO

DeborahinAthens
DeborahinAthens

I visit San Francisco frequently for business. It is a totally different world. There were signs on every restaurant and fast food place looking for workers. One hamburger place, Charburger, had a sign looking for people that said the hourly wages for the various jobs was $9.30/ hour to $13.50/hour. The biotech and IT businesses hum. Everyone seems happy. There were kids getting off buses at museums going on field trips. The last bus of kids on a field trip I saw here in Athens were going to the mall (I kid you not!). I love that the Right Wing Conservatives make fun of California, yet they eat our lunch on every metric--except taxes. Their education system, health system, employment rates, are all better. When the ACA was enacted, they had legions of people to assist people in signing up. Our state outlawed the healthcare navigators. Our insurance commissioner,Ralph Hudgens was so proud of himself. These A-holes forget that these are JOBS! These would be people that spend money and make things him along. Our state is so very sad.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

All states above are red states. Repub math?

PudHead
PudHead

But Obozo told me I was better off than I was 6 years ago, right? I guess I am I have learned to live with less, when will Obozo do the same!

countfive
countfive

Puzzling jobless rate increase? Who is puzzled about Georgia's unemployment? Look at Georgia's leaders. Blame sample size all you want. The history of certain people to understand statistics isn't so good (remember not believing Nate Silver in 2012?). 

BSNBC
BSNBC

Southern states with high African-American populations will always have these numbers!

RantNRave
RantNRave

"Does any agency track population changes by quarter, same as the unemployment rate?"

IREPORT......YOU MEAN A GUBMIT AGENCY???

Hmmmmmmmm

TheRealJDW
TheRealJDW

O and for those thinking the numbers are wrong..check that red breaking news box at the top of the page...

Turner Broadcasting cutting about 1475 jobs...

TheRealJDW
TheRealJDW

It is just math...unemployed divided by workforce.

What it tells you is that in spite of the improving enviroment we have a long way to go.

But hey taxes are low...gubmint jobs are on the decline and those can affort health insurance have it. Pay no attention to the jobs participating in the health care soluton would generate.

DirtyBird-Rise-up
DirtyBird-Rise-up

The unemployment rate is possible true. Two industries that was hurt the most was banking which includes financial (loan officers, loan processors, underwriters, closer, real estate agents, real estate attorneys, builders and their workers which was close to one millions folks. Then Purdue went and layoff thousands of state workers, which included thousands in the education department. Without taking in consideration all the jobs connected to to just those 2 industries, you can see why Georgia's unemployment rate has not recovered.



Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

I haven't seen either this site or the liberal site "look inside the numbers" - if either side cared to look they would see that other analyses of the national numbers are indicative of the fact that "real" growth is not in the educated 24-54 age ranges, where real income is calculated, but rather, in the lower paying 16-24 age group in the fast food services, and in the 24-54 age group inside the fast food, lower paying jobs.

Thus, GA numbers MAY be indicative of a smaller gain in jobs since, as other have pointed out, GA has a disproportionately large number of rural areas where lower paying jobs have not increased since they were previously filled to capacity, while the metro areas have a larger number of white collar jobs that are not available due to be over saturated with qualified applicants, thus leading to a disproportionate number of "qualified" applicants giving up due to the smaller number of jobs available to the "qualified group!

As noted by many, one can make statistics say anything they want them to say, and Obuma wants the sheeple to think that job growth is occurring when, in reality, it is far from growing.

AvailableName
AvailableName

Kyle, I suggest a few days on the road as penance for this piece.  Travel outside the Perimeter Center AJC office, hit some Clayton County neighborhoods, stand in a Labor Department line over at Toco Hills, spend a couple of hours on the street in front of Grady, talk to a few street folks in Savannah, visit the health care facilities in South Georgia, God forbid talk to some people outside of the Peachtree Pine facility, then there are the couple hundred thousand folks that are in that little itty bitty Medicaid hole your candidates have created, you could talk to them.  Then tell me that the only people complaining are in "certain political campaigns."




RafeHollister
RafeHollister

I see where Turner Broadcasting is cutting 1,500 jobs now.  Are the proggies going to put that on Nathan Deal?  The fact that CNN is unwatchable and is losing in the ratings, is the governors fault?   Liberalism doesn't sell, so blame a conservative, haha!

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@coj "Georgia rejected Obamacare"

No, Georgia rejected the Medicaid expansion component of Obamacare. Most of the rest of the law is being implemented here as elsewhere.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Jazzpman 35%? Got a source for that? I haven't seen numbers anywhere near that large.

HeadleyLamar
HeadleyLamar

@Kyle_Wingfield I hear Perdue took a real thrashing from Michelle Nunn.

Not surprising.

Dusty2
Dusty2

@Finn-McCool 


"Everyone wants to leave the USA?" 


Let us make you happy.  Please leave pronto!  The doors are open!  Best wishes !  Just don't return. 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@TheRealJDW So that showed up in last month's figures? And is somehow indicative of Georgia's economy?

It's bad news, no doubt. But it seems like we should have heard about a lot of layoffs like that.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@TheRealJDW Math done via opinion poll, for all practical purposes. The jobless rate is calculated via the small sample size, the job-creation numbers via the larger sample size. Tell me which you think is more likely to tell the real story.

coj
coj

@Kyle_Wingfield @coj And where do you think Georgia is losing jobs? In communities that's hospitals are closing due to the rejection of the Medicaid expansion. And your comment about most of the law being implemented here should have a caveat. Which is the fact that republicans have done as much as possible to block it's implementation and have tried to confuse those that are interested in signing up for Obamacare.

Jazzpman
Jazzpman

@Kyle_Wingfield @Jazzpman http://www.ncjustice.org/?q=budget-and-tax/prosperity-watch-issue-39-no-4-kansas-tax-cut-experiment-greatly-reduces-state

 In 2012, Kansas passed huge income tax cuts – considered perhaps the nation’s largest state tax cut ever – that were estimated to reduce annual revenue for public investments by more than $800 million. The reality in Kansas has been worse than expected, however. In fiscal year 2014, Kansas officials report that the state brought in $338 million less than anticipated. The lack of adequate revenue will likely mean continued cuts to public schools, colleges and universities, and healthcare services for Kansans. Cuts to these programs in Kansas and their damage to families and communities have been well documented and resulted in one high profile court case which determined the underfunding of public education unconstitutional.

Dusty2
Dusty2

@HeadleyLamar 


I hear you are a paid liberal  propagandist. Nobody pays any attention to your posts. 


Not surprising..

TheRealJDW
TheRealJDW

It is absolutly indicative of Georgia's economy. Our largest employers are struggling and we did not spend the effort to attract the ones that will drive the economy in the future.

coj
coj

@Dusty2 @HeadleyLamar Using your convoluted logic, I'm assuoing you are a paid conservative shill. 


Surprise, surprise.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@TheRealJDW  Come on now. Turner's problems are largely self-inflicted. CNN has been on a downward spiral for quite some time. I don't see this as indicative of the economy in general, rather, attributable to a company that is struggling to connect with its potential audience.

td1234
td1234

@TheRealJDW What it is really indicative of is the fact that the far left business model for news is a failure. CNN is going the same way as Air America. 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@TheRealJDW So Turner wouldn't have laid off those people if it were based in another state? That is my point.

As for building up other sectors, we absolutely have to do that. But I think we have to do it by nurturing homegrown industries rather than trying the reel-in-a-big-fish relocation sweepstakes.

EconoPol
EconoPol

@Kyle_Wingfield @TheRealJDW That's why I want to see a multistate comparison on rural versus urban economic performance. I'm curious if other states have done a better job of promoting industries in rural areas, as opposed to Georgia's giveaways to lure relocations.

TheRealJDW
TheRealJDW

Of course we need to build other sectors...the point is we have been asleep at the wheel unless we were fishing for the last 12 years and neglected that small item.