updated April 3, 11:20 a.m.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released in March a collection of eight charts to give a more complete picture of the labor market. It’s a useful tool to have ahead of the monthly jobless numbers. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its March update on the employment situation Friday.
The charts cover eight categories including unemployment. Federal unemployment was 6.7 percent in February, reflecting little change since the previous December. Jobless claims last Friday ticked up by 16,000 from 310,000 a week earlier. But that figure is down from 375,000 the previous year.
The state saw its largest one-month drop in unemployment since it began collecting data in 1976—a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.7 percent down from 6.4 percent the previous month.
And many South Carolinians are getting back to work—more than 8,000 in February. That number has increased seven months in a row. But the labor force shrunk by more than 5,000. February’s labor force participation rate was 57.9 percent–down from 59.3 percent in February 2013, according to the state Department of Employment and Workforce.
Nationally, the labor force rate has been on a steady decline since 2008. It was 63 percent last February, down half a percentage point from the previous year.
The charts organized by the New York Fed illustrate trends in unemployment, employment, hours, labor demand, job availability, job loss rate, wages, and mismatch. Mismatch measures the discrepancy between the distribution of the unemployed and the distribution of vacancies across industries.