I just wanted to add a bit to Paul's post about the new state unemployment numbers out today. I had to cover the story for MPR today, and I was interested in the response state economist Tom Stinson had to the latest news. He's not so concerned about the unemployment rate going up-- it's a funky number that takes into account people who are looking for a job for all sorts of reasons-- not necessarily because they were just laid off. Stinson focuses much more on the actual number of jobs shed. Normally, he says, Minnesota adds 40,000 jobs a year. We just LOST lost half as many jobs in March. Stinsons's assessment: this is bad news.
Another interesting point came from Dan McElroy, the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development or DEED. McElroy mentioned how some economists are expecting construction (which just lost 3700 jobs last month) to be one of the first industries to come back. The reason? McElroy says, "We may have overadjusted to the bubble." Demand might start outstripping supply, and once the inventory of homes subsides, builders are going to have to whomp up some new houses.
On a more personal note today... I interviewed a few people for my story today and really had a poignant reminder of what this economy is like today. Paulette Odette started crying on the phone when she told me about losing her job of 15 years. It was heartbreaking. And Patrick Dentinger is selling off all his possessions-- he's been out of work for a year. These stories put the recession in such sharp focus for me.