Providence one of only two big US metro areas still losing jobsApril 13th, 2012 at 5:00 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
Thank goodness for California.
If it weren’t for the Golden State capital of Sacramento, there wouldn’t be a single large metropolitan area in the United States where Providence could say the job market is worse.
Among the country’s 50 biggest metro areas, only two – Sacramento and Providence – reported an overall decrease in employment during the 12 months ended in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this week. The Providence metro area includes Rhode Island and part of Bristol County, Mass.
“In Sacramento, the decline was mostly due to continued drops in state and local government employment; private employment was essentially flat over the year,” The Economist’s Ryan Avent reports. “In Providence, by contrast, government employment rose; lingering weakness across the economy seemed to be the issue.”
The Economist posted this chart:
Providence is further from the bottom of the pile when we start the clock in June 2009, the official end of the national recession. The local metro area ranked 44th out of 50 for job growth over the subsequent two and a half years; Sacramento ranked dead last. And when the start is pushed all the way back to December 2007, Providence escapes the bottom 10.
Of course, Rhode Island’s recession started roughly a year before the nation’s. Employment in the Providence metro area peaked in January 2007 at 579,500 jobs; bottomed in August 2009 at 537,000; “peaked” again in July 2011 at 548,800; then started falling again before bottoming at 537,500 last July. The job count was 542,800 in February. Here’s a chart:
So the Providence area lost 42,500 jobs from January 2007 to August 2009 and had gained only 5,800 as of February, more than five years after the peak. Without a sudden surge in growth, it’s hard to see how Providence avoids a lost decade (or worse). And it’s all quite a contrast with nearby Boston, which is No. 7 in job growth since June 2009.
“The good news is that, on current trends, quite a lot of the largest metropolitan areas will be back above pre-recession employment levels within a few months,” Avent concludes. “But a handful of places will bear the scars of this recession for a long time to come.” Unfortunately, Providence is probably one of those places.
• Related: Providence area won’t recover lost jobs for another 6 years (June 20)