Thursday, April 14, 2011

Western US shows three months of growth of new hires

For the first time since late 2006, the Western region of the US has shown three consecutive months of positive growth in new hires. According to the BLS, which released a new report yesterday on layoffs, new hires and job opening, reported that total new hires was unchanged over the past month, but were up year-over-year.

As the first chart shows, the West census region, which includes Colorado, reported in January its largest year-over-year change in new hires in more than five years. The chart shows year-over-year percentage changes in new hires for each month.

Overall, for much of 2010, the annual change in new hires lagged the US trend, as new hires in the West often fell below levels from the same month during the previous year. Since December, annual changes have all been positive.

Significant differences in trends between national trends in layoffs and in job openings are not evident in recent year-over-year changes. The West region largely follows the US trends, although annual changes in layoffs appear to be slightly larger in the West than nationally.

Net job growth in the region was also positive for February. In the last chart can be seen the difference between new hires and separations (layoffs, quits, etc.). When the line is above the bars, net job growth is occurring.

The chart reflects positive net job growth from November through February. In Colorado, however, only February saw some employment growth after numerous months of declines. This suggests that Colorado is behind the regional trends in employment growth. In California, for example, employment increased three months in a row from December through February.

Colorado is also behind regional trends in total personal income growth, which can be seen here.

Overall, this report reinforces numerous indicators suggesting that the Western US is not the strongest region of the US right now. What improvements are being seen in the region right now are not being driven by job growth in Colorado, where employment trends can be seen to be trailing the region in some measures.