CBER150_A

Labor Market Forecast: Region 6

Region 6 comprises Blackford, Delaware, Fayette, Henry, Jay, Randolph, Rush, Union, and Wayne counties in east central Indiana.The labor market outlook for Region 6 for 2008 is guardedly optimistic given the state of the market for the last decade. Employment losses over the last ten years will stop or will proceed at a slower pace. The mild up-tick seen in the second half of 2005 and 2006 probably will not continue. We expect net job flows and job creation to increase consistently with their long-term trends, but new hires probably will increase very little. Separations and turnover are likely to remain at their current levels or decrease slightly.

Average monthly earnings may fall slightly, while new hire earnings will increase some in 2008.

Employment
employment

Employment in Region 6 has fallen steadily during the time period for which QWI data have been available. Starting at a level near 140,000 in 1998, employment fell to a low of just over 120,000 in the first quarter of 2005. The trend curve in the graph, which was fitted only on actual employment figures, provides an adequate summary of the past but also projects a relatively grim future. Observed data from 2005 and 2006 offer the possibility that the downward trend of employment in Region 6 may have stopped or at any rate moderated.

We expect Region 6 employment to be flat or decreasing slightly through 2008 but noticeably above the extrapolation of the trend depicted in the graph. The lowest point in our forecast is at about the same level of employment as the low point observed in early 2005.

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Net Job Flows
netjobflows

While they fluctuate substantially, net job flows trended down from around positive 1,000 to slightly negative. Our (rather uncertain) forecast suggests that net job formation will be positive with a slight upward trend through 2008. While this forecast is slightly below the extrapolated trend curve, it suggests that Region 6 will see positive levels of job flows not experienced since the late 1990s.

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Job Creation
jobcreation

Job creation exhibits a pattern of decline from 1998 until 2003-04, after which it begins increasing. Our forecast indicates that the extrapolated trend is a reasonable representation of the level of job creation through 2008, which suggests that there should be a fairly healthy increase in the number of jobs created during the next year.

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New Hires
newhires

This graph exhibits the characteristics of the job creation graph. The level of new hires fell from 1998 to 2003-04, after which it began rising. We expect that, while the number of new hires will increase through 2008, that increase will be less than the trend curve depicted in the graph.

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Separations
separations

Separations have exhibited the pattern of decline seen for job creation, for instance, but separations have not clearly begun to increase. The trend curve slopes upward only very slightly into 2008. Our forecast indicates that separations will be below their extrapolated trend through 2008. Given the many plant closings the region has seen, a prediction of declining separations might come as something of a relief, but this forecast is also indicative of a sluggish labor market where people prefer to stick with their present jobs rather than look for new ones.

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Turnover
turnover

Turnover fell from around 12 percent in 1998 to around 10 percent in late 2006. The long-term trend begins to slope upward in late 2006. Our forecast indicates that turnover is more likely to remain flat at around 10 percent through the year 2008.

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Average Monthly Earnings
avgmonthlyearinings

Average earnings have been increasing over the entire time period for which we have data. Given that these earnings are not adjusted for inflation, this surely comes as no surprise. Although it is difficult to see in the graph, earnings have been trending upward at a very slightly decreasing rate. Our forecast suggests that earnings will not increase in 2008 but will remain level around 2006-07 levels.

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Average New Hire Earnings
avgnewhireearnings

Average new hire earnings increased from around $1,500 per month to around $1,700 per month between 1998 and 2006. The long-term trend is almost linear, and our forecast suggests that new hire earnings might be even higher than this trend in 2008.

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Forecast Summary

This forecast suggests that the Region 6 labor force will not grow during 2008, although it will not fall below previously experienced lows. This forecast is consistent with national projections of economic activity. Using a new data series on employment dynamics we have selected the variables we believe are most telling of employment dynamics in the state.

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