State job growth in August down sharply year-over-year

I’ve written before about the seasonal factors affecting employment and I posted yesterday about the ongoing misinformation in the Georgia Department of Labor’s press releases regarding monthly changes in employment.

As I noted yesterday, the most important data doesn’t even appear in this month’s DOL press release narrative: Georgia had 33,900 fewer jobs this August than last August.

We typically add jobs in August. As schools reopen, they hire all sorts of 9-month employees. College students moving back out on their own after a summer living with parents prompt all sorts of new demand for services.

I decided to take a look at job growth in previous Augusts.

In 2010, the number of payroll jobs increased by 17,800 in August.

In 2011, the number of payroll jobs increased by 7,300 in August.

There are a couple of possible ways to account for this sharp decline. Perhaps schools and other seasonal employers simply delayed the hiring of temporary workers — and perhaps we’ll see additional hires in the September data. Perhaps the number of seasonal hires was pretty close to previous years but were offset by layoffs elsewhere in the state economy.

Since the number of unemployment claims was down significantly in August 2011 compared to August 2010, it seems more likely that ongoing budget woes for schools might be to blame for some of the decrease in normal seasonal hiring.