In my inaugural blog post I described how the St. Louis MSA was doing worse than depicted by the standard payroll employment data from the Current Employment Statistics (CES). Specifically, the more accurate Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) indicated that St. Louis had a deeper recession and a slower recovery than the U.S. as a whole. Another three months of QCEW data are now available, so I have updated my projection of what the St. Louis job numbers look like through May 2011 relative to the start of the recession.
In this graph, the dashed lines are my projections of QCEW employment from January to May 2011. I obtain these by applying the trends from the CES data for the period to the latest-available month of QCEW data.
According to these projections, as of May 2011, US employment was 5.1 percent below its January 2008 level. Also, since the bottom of the recession in February 2010, the US had recovered 20.5 percent of the employment decline.
By May 2011, St. Louis employment was 5.7 percent below its January 2008 level and had recovered 21.9 percent of the decline that had occurred by the bottom of its recession in December 2009.