Annual Unemployment Rate
One of the most important influences over economic activity is the labor supply. Nationwide unemployment rates have been high since the economic downturn in 2007. Local unemployment has been even higher, rising above 10 percent, and only beginning a downward trend in 2011. By December 2014, the rate was down to 7.3 percent after a high in February 2010 of 13.1 percent. The available labor force inside the Southside Planning District has dropped over the past 10 years, from 37,841 in 2002 to 35,469 in 2012.
Commuting patterns are another measure of a regional economy. SPDC has a total net of -5,693 in-commuters which means that more people leave the area to go to work than enter the area to come to work. There are about as many people who live and work in the area (17,248) as there are people who travel outside the Planning District for work (16,916). Ideally, the number of net in-commuters would be strongly positive meaning that workers come to the region to work, and possibly shop and recreate, but live outside the region. A reduction in the number of out-commuters, regardless of the in-commuter numbers, would also be a positive trend as more people would live and work in the area reducing travel time and increasing local spending power.