Friday, February 1, 2013

Large Firms in the Bear River region show a gradually shrinking presence

As the Bear River region has seen a slip in jobs at all levels of business size in the aftermath of the Great Recession, a look at firm size through industries could help shed some light on the dynamics of the recession’s overall impact on businesses of different size.

Manufacturing in the region accounts largely for the downward trend in private sector employment among large employers, as the levels of manufacturing jobs have been slipping over the last half of the decade.

The construction industry, in Bear River and the state, is mainly employed by small firms. In Bear River, small private construction firms saw an enormous boom in employment beginning in 2003 that was followed by a bust of the same magnitude, ending at job levels slightly lower than when the boom began almost nine years before.

Since 2003, retail trade jobs have mostly come from both large and small firms. Adjusted on a 12-month moving average to account for seasonality, trending shows that both large and small retail firms were affected to roughly the same degree, though the smaller firms seemed to have felt the sting of the recession sooner than large firms did.

The private sector healthcare/social services industry in the Bear River area showed relatively constant growth in private sector employment over the past decade at all levels of firm size.

The Bear River Region has been driven as much by large employers as by other employer size classes given the manufacturing presence in the northern part of the state. The industry’s consistently downward trend has had a substantial impact on employment in the region.

Studying employers by firm size over time allows one to see the evolving nature of the labor market. Analyzing these dynamics at the sub-state level lends itself to unique, localized perspectives into regional economies, which is essential for employers, prospective employees and policy-shapers tasked with making big decisions. The effect of economic shocks can be seen in the historical series, and the effects of these shocks are different within different industries. These differences are based not only on firm size but also on regional economies. The way firms decide to deal with an ever-changing economic landscape, in turn, influences other firms around them as well as the broader economy.

Read the entire article in the latest edition of Bear River Local Insights