Friday, December 2, 2011

Employment: Update November 2011

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (link) reported a net increase in employment of 120,000. The actual gains since the last report here, however, were 192,000 jobs. In addition to the 120,000 the BLS also reported revisions for September and October amounting to 72,000 jobs. As I’ve noted before, at least the revisions are now running upward!

The pattern for the last two years continues to be anemic. The patient’s recovery—if, indeed, the economy is going to recover on the jobs front—is certainly slow. What we do not see here is the kind of growth that signals what once we used to think of as normalcy. I thought I’d look backward a bit and compare this one with an earlier recovery. The next chart shows data for the years 1991-1993 overlaid with data for 2009-2011, month by month; we still need December data for 2011. The earlier recession began in 1990 3Q and ended in 1991 1Q. Now the recovery from that recession already carried the label of “jobless recovery,” and for the first time in the post-World War II period. But look at the differences!

We have, as of October, recovered 27.6 percent, thus 2.4 million, of the 8.7 million jobs lost in 2008 and 2009. This suggests that we shall recover the 2007 level of employment no earlier than 2016. I suppose that would qualify as a jobless recovery.

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