Regional Job Growth Continues to Slow
More depressing is that the rate of job growth here declined from August to September, rather than improving. And the 0.25% growth rate in September was the slowest rate in the past 16 months (since May of 2006). As a result of the slow job growth, we still have 5,000 fewer jobs than we did in 2001.
What's causing the problem? It's not USAirways, or the banks, or manufacturing. It's everything. The economic malaise cuts across almost every sector of our economy. The construction, manufacturing, retail, and information sectors all lost jobs over the past year, and the finance, transportation and utilities, and leisure and hospitality sectors were stagnant. The largest contributors to job growth in the past year were health care (2,300), professional, scientific, and technical services (1,000 jobs), and education (800 jobs). And although health care grew significantly relative to the rest of our economy (1.9%), it grew well below the rate of growth in the health care sector nationally (3.3%), undoubtedly because of the lack of population growth here.
The most likely explanation for our continuing economic malaise is a bad state business climate and insufficient attention to entrepreneurship. And unless we fix those things, we can expect more bad job growth reports in the months ahead.