From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

Augusta jobless pattern is predictable

The unemployment rate for Augusta follows the same pattern every year.

 

The lowest point is usually April, the result of the bump in jobs related to the Masters Tournament. Then it goes up in May, and up much more in June and July because high school and college kids are looking for work. And then it starts to slide back down in August when school starts. The holidays usually drive the percentage low and then it jumps again in January when all those holiday retail workers get the pink slip. And the cycle starts over, waiting for the roller coaster to take us down the Masters hill and then up the next summer.

 

We can predict the roller-coaster ride, but it always makes it tough to tell from month to month how the local job market is really doing.

 

There are two ways to do that: average out the year and compare to averages from years past, or take each peak and valley and look at last year’s peaks and valleys.

 

So let’s look at the April valley. This April, because the numbers came out Thursday, the rate was 7.6 percent. The unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in 2012, 8.4 percent in 2011 and 9.6 percent in 2010. So, it has come down 2 percentage points in the last four years of economic recovery.

 

A decade ago the jobless rate for April was 4.6 percent.

 

The Masters champion in 2003 was Mike Weir. Correlation? None, just a factoid.

 

NEWS ON TWITTER: In case you missed the business news blasts this week that went out on Twitter:

  • Tbonz competition. Construction lead site says Texas Roadhouse coming across the street on Sherwood and Washington roads. 
  • Augusta-area Realtors sell 15 percent more homes in April than last year. 
  • Sam’s Club in Aiken begins hiring for its new store, wants 175 workers. 
  • Nineteen major retailers, including Wal-Mart and Costco, plan to opt out of a class-action settlement in a swipe-fee case with Visa and MasterCard.
  •  Thomasville, Ga., bread company Flowers Foods declares 3-for-2 stock split at annual shareholders meeting.
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