Sunday, August 7, 2011

Jobs by Sector, June-July 2011

If we look sector by sector, in the June to July period this year all gains have been in the private sector and the largest offsetting losses in the public: total gains of 154,000 jobs were offset by 37,000 jobs lost in government, 4,000 in the finance sector and 1,000 in Information, the last two both private sector activities.

The private sector with the largest gains was Education and Health Services. The large gains within this sector came in the Health Services category. That category (and occupations within it) are almost guaranteed growth in the foreseeable future because the huge Baby Boom segment of the population is aging. Professional and Business Services came in second, with increases of 34,000 jobs. This can be interpreted as a weakness, rather than as a strength, in the economy: industry is hiring services, not adding to its own employment. Weak performance by Construction and Manufacturing underlines this weakness.

General weakness in economic activity, exacerbated by the debt limit crisis which certainly sapped confidence, is reflected in the job losses experienced by the finance sector, shedding jobs for the second month in a row. BLS reported 15,000 jobs lost in that sector in June—which it adjusted further downward, to 18,000 this month. July’s losses of 4,000 may also be revised downward in the August release.

Within the government sector, the Federal government gained jobs (+2,000). The largest losses came in state government (-23,000). Of the negative job change at the local level (16,000 jobs lost) 12,000, thus most, came from education at the local level. Have we had a sudden die-off of school-age children? Was there a huge surge in our “output” per teacher?

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