Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

There is No Question that Hurricane Irma Will Impact Jobs and Workers in Florida - The Question is Which Sectors?

The monthly employment situation report, or Jobs Report, provides insight on jobs, workers, unemployment and participation across the United States. Shortly after the jobs data is released there are other data sets released, on of which is the Regional and State Employment and Unemployment (RSEU) data and the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS.) It is possible to break down the data to a finer level. If we look at the data Pre-Irma and Post-Irma we can measure the impacts of the hurricane. The past two weeks the Department of Labor has been stressing the impacts of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on the unemployment data. There was a spike three weeks ago - attributed to Harvey.  This past week the first-time unemployment claims data and the continuing unemployment claims data was DOWN.When the number of eligible workers are factored int the discussion then these levels of unemployment are truly historic in nature. So, how was Florida doing before the hurricane hit?

Florida has Five Sectors that have not returned to pre-recession levels. This is about the same as the rest of the country where four or five sectors are lagging in recovery, depending upon the month. Mining and Logging, Construction, Manufacturing, and IT are the "usual suspects." Sometimes the Financial Services sector is weaker than it was for the current month than it was during 2007. Most times the Government Sector has fewer workers than either immediately before or after the recession, again depending on the month. The IT sector is "always" down - especially when compared to 2001. Florida's five sectors are Mining, Construction, Manufacturing, IT, and Government.

What Happened Month to Month? There were month to month, July to August, drops in the number of Leisure and Hospitality Workers and Mining/Logging workers.  The Government Sector was flat.Construction and Manufacturing saw some of their largest pops in workers during the past 5 years during this August.

Year to Year Growth at almost 3%. Another way to examine the data is the August to August Growth in Workers. The state of Florida has been growing at a rate of 2.7-3.6% annually for the past four years.

Hurricane Andrew did not have an impact on the annual data - Unless you are talking Construction. The IT sector was starting its slide. Everything else grew August 1992 to August 1993, with Construction leading the way.

August Unemployment Level was below where we were during April.... of 2008. The unemployment level dropped month to month an d year to year. The trend has been downward. We will have a better handle of what is happening nationwide, and to an extent locally, when the weekly unemployment claims numbers are released this Thursday. We tend to see first-time claims stabilize or increase towards the end of September, and continuing claims tend to drop through the end of September and the first week of October.

You can't know where you are heading if you do not know where you started.  There have been discussions that the hurricanes that have hit Texas and Florida may be hugely negatively impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. There are some people who feel that the impact could be positive. Having been through two fires during his lifetime, this author understands the anger, confusion, rage, sadness and relief involved with disasters. Some of the smallest things have the biggest meaning. Somethings can be replaced. When those things are replaced spending occurs. 

If you, or people you know,  have been impacted by a Hurricane this year, look into the possibility that you may be able to receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance - Unemployment benefits due to a natural disaster. You may be able to receive compensation is you are self-employed, a part-time employee, or the spouse of a deceased employee.

The economic data is more important than the #TakeAKneeNFL. People care about the economy. People care about their jobs. People care about their benefits. People care about housing.

It's the economy.