The Times West Virginian

Business

December 30, 2012

State to experience slow drop in unemployment in 2013

FAIRMONT — WorkForce West Virginia anticipates that the state will experience a slow drop in unemployment in the new year.

The Labor Market Information unit of WorkForce West Virginia’s Research, Information and Analysis Division recently published labor force estimates for the state for November 2012.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell 0.3 percent over the past year, dropping from 7.6 percent in November 2011 to 7.3 percent in November of this year. The rate also went down slightly — 0.2 percent — compared to October 2012, when it was 7.5 percent.

“Major pieces that played a role in the decline were a tightening of the civilian labor force,” said Stacy McKean, data analyst with WorkForce West Virginia. “A much larger decline in unemployment than in employment resulted in a decreased unemployment rate.”

The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed at 6.7 percent from October to November because there wasn’t enough change to cause a decline, she said. This shows a 0.5 percent drop from the rate of 7.2 percent in November 2011.

“The unemployment rate in West Virginia has stayed within a 1-percent margin since January,” McKean said. “Employment trends in seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted statistics have maintained their expected course. Analysts are expecting to see the lowest average annual unemployment rate since 2008.”

The seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in November, down from 7.9 percent in October and 8.7 percent last November. Looking at the not seasonally adjusted numbers, the unemployment rate for the United States was 7.4 percent this November, 7.5 percent in October and 8.2 percent in November 2011.

“Based on West Virginia’s annual employment trends, unemployment figures tend to increase during the winter months,” McKean said. “However, we expect to see a slow decline in unemployment throughout 2013.”

From October to November 2012, West Virginia experienced a decrease of 1,500 unemployed residents, with total unemployment going from 60,200 to 58,700. West Virginia’s total unemployment decreased 2,300 from November 2011, when the number was 61,000.

Total employment saw a decline of 300, going from 740,200 in October of this year to 739,900 in November. It was up 800 from the November 2011 rate of 739,400.

WorkForce West Virginia’s latest report shows that the total nonfarm payroll employment dropped 900 from October to November, representing a loss of 1,200 jobs in the goods-producing sector and a gain of 300 jobs in the service-providing sector.

“Main contributors in the decline in total nonfarm employment were losses in construction and manufacturing in the goods-producing sector and decreases in financial activities and professional and business services in the service-providing sector,” McKean said.

Total nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 13,800 compared to November of last year, showing the loss of 8,000 jobs in the goods-producing sector and 5,800 jobs in the service-providing sector.

“West Virginia total nonfarm payroll employment is expected to improve as the overall economy rebounds,” she said. “Total nonfarm payroll employment is expected to pass and stay above the 800,000 mark.”

WorkForce West Virginia also released Labor Market Information by West Virginia County for November 2012. A county emphasis map shows whether county unemployment rates have risen, fallen or remained the same compared to October.

Twenty of the counties in the state experienced a decrease in their unemployment rates from October to November of this year, while 29 counties saw growing rates. The rates did not change in Gilmer, Lewis, Logan, Monroe, Raleigh and Taylor counties.

The counties that had unemployment rates below 5 percent were Jefferson and Monongalia. Clay, Webster, Pocahontas, Grant and Wetzel counties were the counties with unemployment rates greater than 10 percent.

Marion County’s unemployment rate — not seasonally adjusted — was 5.7 percent in November. This showed a drop from the rate of 5.8 percent in October and 6.0 percent in November of last year.

In November 2012, Marion County’s total employment was 24,790 and total unemployment was 1,490. The total nonfarm payroll employment came to 22,230, with the goods-producing sector having 3,660 workers and the service-providing sector having 18,570 workers.

As for October, total employment for the county was 24,980 and total unemployment was 1,530. The total nonfarm payroll employment added up to 22,140, reflecting 3,670 workers in the goods-producing sector and 18,480 workers in the service-providing sector.

Marion County’s numbers for November 2011 were as follows: Total employment, 25,320; total unemployment, 1,610; total nonfarm payroll employment, 23,160; goods-producing sector, 4,090; and service-providing sector, 19,070.

McKean said the statistics that WorkForce West Virginia collects and distributes are used by employers, job seekers, educators, lawmakers and grant seekers. The labor market information gives those individuals a realistic view of employment trends and economic indicators in West Virginia.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

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