One of the most significant innovations in labor market information of the past two decades has been the development of the Local Employment Dynamics (LED) database, a joint venture of the Census Bureau and the states. LED tracks employment by age and gender for all jobs covered by unemployment insurance, with the exception of federal workers. LED employment closely aligns with Employment Security’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) data series.
Recession and recovery: Employment by age and gender.
We can use LED to analyze what happened to employment by age and gender in the recent recession and recovery. The chart below looks at these changes over a five-year period, including the two years of employment decline and the first three years of the recovery.
On March 5, we announced that Washington state now has more people working than before the start of the Great Recession. As with most labor-market data, there’s more to the story.
Before January 2014, our data showed we’d recovered about 83 percent of our recessionary job losses. But thanks to some statistical changes (benchmarking) by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics in January, the original estimate of 205,900 job losses was cut to 189,300. Simultaneously, the estimated job gains since the recession were revised upward by a similar amount. In an instant, the gap was erased.
What does it all mean? Think of it as an important milestone during our long recovery, not a declaration of victory.
“So, you have lost your job. What else have you lost when losing your job?” This was a question I asked of those attending the “Living through Job Loss” workshops I facilitated at the WorkSource Kitsap County office. It was not unusual for each class to fill 3-4 butcher-paper sheets documenting their losses. I found it sobering to hear of all the various losses, losses that may not have been obvious.
So what were those losses shared by many? Continue reading