Saturday, September 3, 2011

Employment: Update August 2011

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report on the Employment Situation, in August the Economy neither added nor lost jobs in the aggregate. Just to maintain the continuity, I’ve updated my month-by-month bar chart and provide it here once again. The absence of a bar colored red, meaning new, simply means that no change has taken place.

If we look at changes in greater detail, however, we see seven sectors gaining employment (83,000 jobs)—but six sectors also losing jobs (also 83,000). Net result is no gain, no loss. The picture, however, is artificially distorted in August. Verizon communications workers were on strike. This action caused most of the biggest single sectoral loss in August, in the Information sector. Striking workers are not counted as working. The strike ended on September 2.

Worth noting in the August report is that, once more, private sector jobs were lost in two of the three basic industries, Construction and Manufacturing; Mining showed a small gain. Bigger gains were shown in services, the largest in education and health services, which is mostly health (34,000): Thanks aging Baby Boom. Government shed jobs again (17,000), but not as dramatically as last month (37,000). In effect, the strike aside, the economy would have gained a modest number of jobs. The Verizon strike will also distort next month’s numbers by showing an artificial gain.

The data for these charts comes from the monthly BLS press release (link).

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