Another Angle on Job Growth

Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 22, 2008 - 6:18pm

Jon Lansner, proprietor of the excellent Orange County Register real estate blog, pointed me at an alternate source of local job data after reading my recent article questioning the accuracy of the monthly BLS/EDD employment statistics.

Like the monthly job report described in the latest article (the Current Employment Statistics or CES), this other data is also put together by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It is called the Quarterly County Employment and Wages (QCEW) report and a whole slew of information on it can be found here.

As the name would imply, the QCEW report is released quarterly instead of CES's monthly release. The bigger difference is in the time lag, though: whereas the CES reports on the most recent month's employment, the QCEW reports on the calendar quarter that ended just over 6 months prior. This lag would explain why it doesn't get a lot of press -- people want to know what's happening now, not what was happening half a year ago.

The QCEW has one big advantage, however, and that is accuracy.


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Submitted by patientrenter on February 23, 2008 - 1:30pm.

Thanks, Rich (and Mr Lansner). It was very interesting to see a 1% drop in OC employment from June 2006 to June 2007, or about 15K job losses out of 1.5 million total jobs. Of that 15K, about 10K were lost in Finance, and 4K in contruction. Makes you wonder how bad the 3Q and 4Q 2007 numbers will be, after the mortgage finance industry started to really unravel. My guess is that when in July 2008 the data for 4Q2007 comes out, we'll see that we've lost a net 40-50K jobs. That's a lot of empty apartments and homes, and it seems likely that 2008 will see more damage as government cutbacks start to bite, and businesses that relied partly on housing finance and construction and MEW cut back just a little more.

Patient renter in OC

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