King County saw employment drop 4.7 percent from December 2008 to December 2009, according to new data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was one of the 325 out of 334 largest counties nationally to see a drop. In Pierce County the decline was 3.4 percent, while Snohomish County fell 5.2 percent.
In Oregon, Multnomah County employment declined 4.9 percent while Clackamas fell 5.3 percent. The U.S. average was 4.1 percent. Some Rust Belt counties saw losses of more than 8 percent.
This is looking in the rear-view mirror, of course. Reports in recent months show many metro areas in the Northwest have at least stabilized. But this also confirms the deep jobs hole that exists even here, with 2009 seeing continued losses. Let’s hope the Microsoft cuts are not a sign that companies anticipate a fresh pullback in the tepid recovery. (Microsoft continues to hire in specific areas).
Today’s report on slightly better weekly jobless claims means little in itself. Unemployment remains very high, especially among young people and minorities, among others, and private-sector hiring remains weak. About the best take I found came from James Picerno on Seeking Alpha:
The case for deflation retreated a bit today with this morning’s update of weekly jobless claims. New filings for unemployment benefits slumped by a tidy 21,000 last week to 454,000, the government reported. That’s the biggest weekly drop since mid-April and the decline represents a tactical victory for the bulls. But until and if the trend rolls on it’s only marginally encouraging. The strategic outlook, in other words, is still up for grabs.
Today’s Econ Haiku:
Is this rally real?
Average investors hang on
The roller coaster