Monday, August 09, 2004


How do employment numbers translate to real life?

Over time, I've found one of the ways to truly gauge the economic viability of a city is to read the newspaper. But it's not the local section, or the business section I read. It's the classifieds-homes for sale, apartments for rent, cars for sale and jobs.

Last week we reported on the weak employment numbers and found that new job creation was down 90% of projections. What does this translate to in real life? To answer this question, I turned to the nation's Sunday classifieds sections to see what this really means.

Disclaimer: This is not a serious research project, just a cursory glance at Sunday's job offerings across the country. Newspapers were chosen because of a shared classified network. I don't know if the chosen papers were the largest in their market. It must also be noted that many jobs available are never advertised for in a newspaper, however the classifieds will at least create some sense of proportion.

Salt Lake Tribune-Salt Lake Population-179900 Jobs 8/8/04 1493 Ratio .82%
Richmond Times - Richmond, VA Pop - 193900 Jobs 8/8 77 Ratio .04%
Quad City Times - Davenport, IA Pop - 97400 Jobs 8/8 152 Ratio .16%
Winston-Salem Journal- Winston-Salem, NC Pop - 191900 Jobs 8-8 469 Ratio .24%
Sacramento Bee - Sacramento, Ca Pop - 453700 Jobs 8-8 1762 Ratio .39
Oklahoman - Oklahoma City, OK Pop - 527100 Jobs 8-8 1403 Ratio .26

Are these numbers accurate? Are these the right newspapers to choose to determine a good picture of available jobs in these cities? Did you know Oklahoma City was that big? Let us know by posting your comments.

In other financial news today, the absence of any major reports is making the major financial markets drift listlessly. The next big news this week is the Fed's policy meeting tomorrow. The biggest decision to be made is whether overnight interest rates will be raised. Most analysts think the Fed will go ahead with a .25 bps raise tomorrow along with a carefully worded accompanying statement. Oil prices continued to set records with a high of $44.98 per barrel, but coming down to $44.90. Opening prices were $44.38.

Unless there is major news during the rest of the day, this will be the only post today. Look for more news tomorrow after the Fed's statement.

This report brought to you by DegreeSource.

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