By Greg Grootendorst, Chief Economist & James Clary, Economist
On June 29th the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment data, revealing that the region’s payroll levels and unemployment rate remain virtually unchanged from the previous month (on a seasonally adjusted basis).
This data is somewhat disappointing news as the two previous months had shown growth in the region’s payroll employment, emphasizing how this region has not embarked on a sustained recovery. This latest data release for Hampton Roads is consistent with both state and national trends as both the state and the nation have struggled to add a significant number of jobs in 2011 (1% job growth in Virginia and 0.6% job growth in the nation).
The region’s unemployment rate remained at 6.8% in May, though this obscures the fact that both labor force growth and even stronger employment growth as determined by the current population survey (data which includes the self employed as well as other non-payroll positions).
As can be seen in the graphic below, different industries have suffered from the recession at different rates. Some like leisure & hospitality, healthcare, and other services are near the top of their employment range. Conversely, retail trade, manufacturing, and natural resources & construction languish at the lowest levels of the decade. In a typical recovery, national payrolls would have already grown 3% over the pre-recession high. Currently the nation is 5% below pre-recession levels, and Hampton Roads is 6% below those levels. Payroll information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that region has lost 45꽤 since the pre-recession peak.