Sunday, October 14, 2018

Bill Crawford: State Recovery is Modest

Record numbers of jobs and job growth in Mississippi top political speeches by incumbent politicians these days.

Yes, more Mississippians have jobs now than before the Great Recession.

Yes, more Mississippians have jobs now than ever before.

But, there is more to the story.

Total residence-based employment (the number that includes part-time and self-employed individuals used to calculate unemployment rates) hit 1,223,887 in July. That was up 0.3% from 1,219,739 in July 2008 and a new record.

Total non-farm jobs (the number of jobs at Mississippi establishments) reached 1,165,500 in July. That was up 1.9% from 1,143,800 in July 2018 and a new record.

However, over the same multi-year periods, U.S. employment grew 7.2% and non-farm jobs 8.4%.

While employment was up overall, it was not up in two-thirds of the 82 counties.

Down counties with percentages include: Humphreys -43.6%, Issaquena -42.4%, Quitman -27.6%, Jefferson -27.1%, Jefferson Davis -25.2%, Sharkey -25.2%, Carroll -25.1%, Wilkinson -23.2%, Neshoba -23.1%, Leflore -21.7%, Washington -21.2%, Sunflower -20.1%, Jasper -18.7%, Jones -17.9%, Adams -16.4%, Stone -16.0%, Holmes -14.4%, Walthall -13.5%, Amite -13.3%, Clarke -12.4%, Kemper -12.2%, Claiborne -10.4%, Bolivar -10.1%, Coahoma -9.8%, Warren -9.4%, Panola -8.9%, Perry -8.5%, Lawrence -8.3%, Wayne -7.9%, Newton -7.3%, Greene -7.0%, Winston -6.5%, Franklin -6.4%, George -6.1%, Pike -6.0%, Leake -4.6%, Forrest -4.6%, Lauderdale -4.6%, Covington -4.4%, Copiah -3.5%, Montgomery -3.1%, Hinds -3.0%, Simpson -3.0%, Yalobusha -2.8%, Jackson -2.3%, Lowndes -0.8%, Marshall -0.7%, Yazoo -0.6%, Attala -0.3%.

At the same time, there were a few big gainers. Nine counties saw employment jump by over 15% since 2008.

Up counties with percentages include: Lamar 30.1%, Lafayette 23.9%, Union 23.7%, Webster 20.0%, Madison 19.3%, Tippah 17.3%, Choctaw 16.0%, Benton 15.7%, Clay 15.4%, Pontotoc 14.6%, DeSoto 14.4%, Oktibbeha 14.2%, Lee 12.1%, Noxubee 11.9%, Calhoun 11.6%, Pearl River 11.0%, Tunica 10.6%, Smith 10.2%, Tishomingo 10.1%, Lincoln 10.0%, Itawamba 8.6%, Alcorn 8.1%, Grenada 6.5%, Tate 5.9%, Scott 5.7%, Chickasaw 5.2%, Prentiss 4.8%, Tallahatchie 4.3%, Rankin 4.0%, Hancock 3.9%, Monroe 3.2%, Marion 1.9%, Harrison 1.3%.

What job categories grew?

In the private sector: social assistance 61%, transportation and warehousing 19%, educational services 19%, ambulatory health care 18%, professional and business services 11%, nursing and residential care facilities 10%, leisure and hospitality 8%, utilities 6%, retail trade 1%.

In the public sector: local government 1%.

All other private and public sectors remain below 2008 levels.

Some good news is annual average wages increased in all counties but George and Jefferson Davis.

Some not-so-good news is while Mississippi wages increased, they fell further behind national averages. For 2008, Mississippi wages averaged $33,508, behind the national average of $45,563 by $12,055. For 2017, Mississippi wages averaged $38,788, behind the national average of $55,390 by $16,602. Mississippi wages also increased just 2% faster than inflation since 2008 while nationally wages beat inflation by 8%.

So, yes, Mississippi has recovered jobs lost during the Great Recession and, overall, more Mississippians are working with higher average wages. But with so many counties still lagging below 2008 employment levels and Mississippi's weak growth compared to national averages, things are really more modest than terrific.

(Data from the U.S. Bureau Labor of Statistics; historic data no longer available from MS. Department of Employment Security.)

Crawford is a syndicate columnist from Meridian.


Anonymous said...

WHy is it so hard for people like Bill to understand that a comparison of average wages means absolutely NOTHING without a side-by-side comparison of the cost of living??? For example: In what universe is it better to earn $45,000 a year in a place where 750 square foot apartment costs $2000 a month to RENT than to earn $35,000 a year in a place where $1,000 a month will BUY a 1500 quart foot house on an acre of land???

Anonymous said...

I understand your point, but a year to year comparison does reflect trends.

Anonymous said...

8:13 am I agree that statistical data can't be instructive if it ignores the larger universal sample and omits important historical data comparisons.

The more troubling statistics are that now only 13 % of our population have a college degree. Only 30% graduated from high school. 31% have less than a high school education. This is not improvement.

Nor should we take comfort in cost of living if it does not track with wages. It's also important to see where the cost of living changes occur.

My current concern is that the boom/bust nature of the market is that booms benefit the 1% who are the ones who can take advantage of booms and busts. And, that the earnings increases in the low to upper middle class are not tracking at all with the earnings increases in the upper classes.

Anonymous said...

Hint: while cost of living does narrow the gap some, the people of our state are still worse off economically than those of any other state in the union, even when adjusting for the cost of living difference.

Anonymous said...

If we just had a Republican governor, house and senate. Oh wait. We did!

Anonymous said...

10:32 Remind me when an all-Democrat government in Mississippi led the state to the top of the economic rankings.

And no fair using slavery-era data - that's illegal now!

Anonymous said...

8:13 is right but we need to remember these writers never let facts and analytical thinking get in the way of constructing the narrative.

Anonymous said...

8:13 What is the source of your "statistical data"? False data can also be misleading. Check U.S.

Anonymous said...

About 35 years ago, I was offered a great job in Atlanta and turned it down to stay in Mississippi by believing things would improve. When I go to Nashville, Atlanta, Birmingham, and other cities in the Southeast, I now realize the joke is on me. As others have said, the major issue in Mississippi will always be who wins the Egg Bowl.

Anonymous said...

Who the hell would want to live in Atlanta or Birmingham? Oh, by the way 9:57, where did you get your 13% figure for college education?

Correlation Coefficient as a Product of Standard Error of Measurement said...

Anybody who talks to me in terms of instructive statistical data as compared to the larger universal sample is either selling the opportunity to invest in a pyramid scheme or has nothing better to do than take night courses at Milsaps. Avoid these people at all costs!

Anonymous said...

9:57 "The more troubling statistics are that now only 13 % of our population have a college degree. Only 30% graduated from high school. 31% have less than a high school education. This is not improvement."

WHAT ? These numbers could not be correct - SOURCE ?

Anonymous said...

College educated (4-year) in Mississippi: 20+%

National average: 30%

For The JPS Grad... said...

If 30% graduated High School and 31% did not....where the hell is the other 39%? Still in High School? Somebody is making shit up.

Anonymous said...

82.3% High School Degree
20.7% Bachelor's Degree
7.7% Advanced Degree

Anonymous said...

8:02 am I used the most recent US Census and so are the total population stats.

I suspect your stats are percentage of those in high school that get degrees and don't reflect how many stay in Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

To put it in terms more Mississippians will understand:

-The MSGOP is our coaching staff.

-We are dead last in the country. We go 0-12 every season.

-Because of general improvements in coaching and training techniques, our players have recently gotten 1% better.

-But over the same period, players for other teams have gotten 7% better.

-Consequently, we actually lose by even wider margins than before. Our recruiting is even worse, and our few good players are more likely than ever to transfer.

Our coaching staff cites the facts above as reasons it deserves a four year extension. Do we give it to them?

Anonymous said...

What's to complain about, Mississippi was the ass-pit of the nation and retains it's place. Our cost of living will always be low and you don't have to worry about an influx of talented people disrupting our cherished way of life. Go Mississippi!

Anonymous said...

What percentage of Our recent College Grads are having to go outside Mississippi to get jobs ?

Anonymous said...

The stats are bad no matter how configured.

Anonymous said...

"Our coaching staff cites the facts above as reasons it deserves a four year extension. Do we give it to them?"

NO, we return government to democrats who were dominant for a hundred years and caused our problems.

Anonymous said...

1:56 Programs! Programs! You can't tell the players without a program. The Republicans are the Democrats. They just switched jerseys!

Anonymous said...

"The Republicans are the Democrats. They just switched jerseys!"

Right On, Bro! But now they're 'rock solid' and have the support of Trump and Feel.

Anonymous said...

@1:56, during what 100 year period did democrats dominate government and which problems did they cause?

Anonymous said...

Shout out's to the following posts

#1 - October 15, 2018 at 8:53 AM
#2 - October 15, 2018 at 4:56 PM
#3 - October 16, 2018 at 5:20 AM

All of you see what's really happening in this state.

While the Democratic Party championed the conservative principles in Mississippi from 1850 until 1980, the people that supported the Democratic party switched to the Republican party with Fordice and the rest is history. Now the Republican party is now the party of "conservatism"

Needless to say, considering the condition of this state, the Mississippi GOP has had a long time running this team and they did a worse job than Buck Showalter did with the Baltimore Orioles. They do not deserve another 4 years to do more damage.

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