Mitchell economy at a glance, February 2010

Numbers are from the most recent month of available statistics at the time of compilation.

  Current Same month last year % change
Unemployment  5.8%  6.4%  -9%
Building permits  3  0  NA
Municipal tax due  $812,601.50  $896,424.30  -9.35%
Average gasoline price  $2.67  $1.97  35.53%
Corn price  $3.19  $3.17  0.63%
Cattle price*  $91.20  $85.70  6.42%

*"Cows" and "Steers & Heifers" combined.

Sources: S.D. Department of Labor, City of Mitchell, S.D. Department of Revenue and Regulation, The Daily Republic, S.D. Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Office

12 thoughts on “Mitchell economy at a glance, February 2010

  1. Actually, I’m not sure about that. The rate did drop by 0.6 percentage points, but that’s not “percent change,” is it? The way I figured it is to take the percent change from 6.4 to 5.8. If you figure it that way, it’s a 9 percent drop.

    If you go by raw numbers, there were 555 unemployed people in Mitchell at this time last year, compared to 490 now. That would be a 12 percent drop, and that makes my 9 percent change for the rate look more accurate than your 0.6 percent change, doesn’t it?

    All that being said, math is definitely not my strong suit. Any mathematicians out there who want to opine on this?

  2. I think soldier boy is correct. The unemployment rate is already in percentages so I believe it dropped by 0.6%.

    There would be 12% fewer unemployed people, but that is different than the unemployment rate.

  3. OK — I’m willing to admit that I’m wrong if I can be convinced. I’m not quite there yet, though. Anybody else?

  4. If the number of unemployed last year was 555 & this year it’s 490, that would be reduction in the amount of those unemployed of 65, or, in other words, a reduction of 11.7% (reduction in the number of unemployed). Very encouraging news.

    Those unemployed (& looking for work last year) was 6.4% of the available workforce and 5.8% of the currently available workforce resulting in an improving of .6%. Also, encouraging news.

  5. Seth, you’re right. Think of it this way. The unemployment rate is 6.4 percent of a XX population. So that’s actually a number. If XX was 15,000, then 6.4 percent of that would be 960 people. Now, if you take 5.8 percent of 15,000, you get 870. The percent change of 960 people to 870 people is 9 percent. Try to poke holes in my logic anonymous ones, just try.

  6. It might be closer to 9.4 percent. It’s interesting how that matches up with the municpal tax number.

  7. The math is right, the terminology is the issue. The number of unemployed PEOPLE is down by 9.4%. The percentage of the available workforce that remains unemployed has only gone down by .6% though.

  8. Actually, the number of unemployed people is down 11.7 percent, as I said earlier.

    What’s down 9.4 percent, or 0.6 percentage points, is the rate.

    To help illustrate this, let’s think of a batting average. If a baseball player’s batting average drops from .320 to .305, that’s a 4.7 percent change for the worse. Or, to put it another way, its a 0.015 point change.

    I like saying it’s a 4.7 percent change, because that’s a more accurate portrayal of what’s happening. If you say a guy’s batting average has fallen 4.7 percent, that gives you a pretty clear mental picture of what’s happening — the guy’s in a slump. If you say his batting average fell by 0.015 points, it doesn’t communicate much.

    Same goes for the unemployment rate. If you say it dropped by 0.6 points, it doesn’t tell the real story or communicate how many people are actually affected by even the slightest change in the rate. If you say it dropped by 9 percent, I think that more accurately portrays the significant change in unemployment that happened.

    Both ways are correct. One is better at communicating the information.

    If I’m wrong, then I’m digging a deeper grave for myself by writing all of this. But I’ll continue to comment, because I’d really like to hear an authoritative answer to this.

  9. Actually seth, I understand and you are correct. The percent change as labled is 9%. The difference is .6%. T real question is, should the % change be neg or positive as a lower unemployment rate is a positive thing. Therefore, wouldnt the percent change be +9%?

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