The release of the April 2012 Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Summary by the Bureau of Labor Statistics paints the picture of a region moving sideways. Payrolls expanded by 200 positions in April, but the new level of 739 is barely above that of January 2011 and is actually below the level of July 2011. 2012 has continued the trend of payrolls increasing and declining by modest amounts for several months while not developing any real momentum. This leaves the region still 42 positions (6.4%) below the pre-recession peak. This compares unfavorably to the national experience which has begun a sustained, albeit weak recovery.
The unemployment rate has declined sharply from 7.0% in November 2011 to 6.4% in April 2012, but the decline in the unemployment rate was driven primarily by a decline in the labor force. This is a sharp contrast to the fall of 2011 where the region’s labor force expanded rapidly keeping the unemployment rate flat. The number of people who are identified as employed by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics has declined by 1꺳 between February 2012 and April 2012 even as the unemployment rate declined by 0.21%.
*Note- All numbers are seasonally adjusted.