Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Employment Report: Alabama is getting back to work

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is out with a year-over-year report, showing changes in unemployment rates for the nation’s 372 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA’s).  The report covers the period from August 2009 (or about the time that NBER says the recession ended) through August 2010.  Some areas fared pretty well.  Others, not so much.

Alabama comes out looking very good:

The Florence-Muscle Shoals area in Northern Alabama saw a drop of 2.3 percent making it the second largest drop in the nation. Decatur was fifth. Anniston and Gadsden shared the eighth spot and Tuscaloosa was number ten.

Mobile and Montgomery are among the top 50, with a 1.2 percent drop in unemployment over the last 12 months. Overall, Alabama’s unemployment rate declined by 1.4 percent.

“Alabama right now is leading the nation when it comes to reducing unemployment,” said Governor Riley.

“No other state has seen a bigger drop in its jobless rate over the past year, and of the 10 American cities that have seen the largest declines in unemployment, five of the top 10 are in our state. It’s certainly a positive sign that Alabama is headed in the right direction.”

Alabama has a very pro business environment, and it’s just easier to do business in this state versus those it’s competed against for recent large capital investment projects, including the multi-billion Thyssen Krupp steel plant, the Raytheon Missile Plant and the Hyundai expansion.  All of the state’s MSA’s posted year-over-year gains.

Other areas of the country continue to suffer, though.  Of the 372 MSA’s, 182 posted gains, so about half broke even or worse. Those that posted unemployment rate increases totaled 169.  Of the ten MSA’s with the worst year-to-year figures, eight of them are out west.  The worst?  Yuma, AZ with a net increase in unemployment from 25.9% to 30.2%.  Ouch.