Friday, May 06, 2005

Employment good nationally, not so good locally 

I don't see many people blogging today on the employment report, which came in far better than economists expected. Not only that, but the February and March numbers were revised significantly upward. Perhaps there isn't enough there for the naysayers to even find something to spin, though Angry Bear does note that there's good growth in construction, but those aren't very good jobs because they're temporary.

Given those revisions, it seems to me rather unlikely that the GDP report of 3.1% growth in the first quarter will remain at that level. My (very rough) number would be about a half-point higher.

On the very same day, our local paper has news of further layoffs at Electrolux, which is the largest manufacturer here in St. Cloud. St. Cloud has more manufacturing employment as a share of total area employment than most parts of the US or even Minnesota. I expect that while this area is growing faster in population than the rest of the state, we'll continue to have periodic outbreaks like this. The article notes,
Stockholm-based Electrolux AB saw 2004 net income fall 34 percent. To stay competitive, it plans to move about 13 of its 43 U.S. and European appliance plants to lower-cost areas such as Eastern Europe, Asia and Mexico.

It wouldn't shock me to see us be one of the 13.