Mississippi certainly no Texas in job creation

Published 1:00 pm Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mississippi did not make CNBC’s top ten among “Top States for Job Creation.”

Texas led the way creating 237,500 jobs from May 2011 to May 2012. Other top ten states were California, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Michigan, Washington, Virginia, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.

CNBC said 44 states showed job growth. Mississippi wasn’t one of those either.

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Instead, Mississippi ranked in the bottom five among the only states to lose jobs year over year. Joining us were Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Alaska, and Maine. Delaware had flat results.

CNBC highlighted the fact that Texas lost 50,000 government jobs but still had net growth of 237,500 jobs. In contrast, Mississippi lost overall jobs, down 1,600, but had net growth in government jobs. The state lost 4,200 private sector jobs while it gained 2,600 government jobs.

Among neighboring states only Alabama mirrored Texas. Alabama gained 15,500 private sector jobs while eliminating 10,100 government jobs for a net increase of 5,400.

Tennessee, Louisiana, and Arkansas added both private sector and government jobs. Tennessee added 28,700 private sector jobs and 10,400 government jobs for a total gain of 39,100. Louisiana added 32,200 private and 1,500 government jobs for a total of 33,700. Arkansas added 2,900 private and 3,600 government jobs for a total of 6,500.

All of the above numbers are nonfarm employer-based numbers that compare May 2012 to May 2011. Since February, Mississippi’s monthly year-over-year comparisons have been negative.

Another measure of Mississippi employment tells a different story. Job numbers for Mississippi residents jumped 20,900 from May 2011 to May 2012.

How can there be such a difference?

The nonfarm employer-based numbers count people who work at businesses and governmental entities located in Mississippi. They do not count self-employed individuals. The resident numbers count people who live in Mississippi but who may work in other states. They also estimate self-employment.

For the past two years, year-over-year growth in monthly resident numbers has significantly outpaced growth in nonfarm employer numbers. This suggests many Mississippians have been taking jobs in growing out-of-state economies and others have become self-employed. It also suggests that not so many out-of-state residents have been taking Mississippi jobs.

While other states seem to be faring better, Mississippi can point to a positive overall trend in resident employment. The 12-month moving average for resident jobs in May hit 1,208,300. That’s getting close to the 1,214,100 average for calendar year 2008. The Great Recession pushed the average number of resident jobs down to 1,169,400 for 2009. For 2010 they climbed back to 1,178,800, then to 1,200,700 for 2011.

Getting back to 2008 levels would be good news.

Better news would be getting back to the 2004 level of 1,232,400 jobs.

Great news would be having more of these jobs at Mississippi employers.