Friday, January 6, 2012

Employment Update: December 2011

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today an increase in total employment of 200,000 in December over November 2011 (link). The actual increase is slightly overstated, however. BLS revised October numbers by increasing them by 12,000 and reduced November numbers by 20,000, with a net effect of lowering results up to November by 8,000 jobs. Thus, overall, we gained 192,000, better than the average monthly increase for the year, which was 137,000. The graphic is here:

As a year ago, so today I am presenting an annual chart, showing gains and losses by year for the period 2007-2011.

The recovery is underway. The rate of recovery is slow. In 2008-2009 we lost 8.66 million jobs, in 2010-2011 we regained 2.58 million, thus 29.8 percent of all losses. That result is shown in the pie chart that follows:

The deeper the recession, the steeper the hill we must climb to get out of it again. Pacman here is still predominantly blue. I’ll feel better when it looks like the red will gobble up the blue. Notable in this month’s report is the 20,000 down-ward revision of employment in November; it suggests that the peak month of the retail season once more failed to live up to its promise; but to confirm that we still lack data. They will appear fairly soon. The next question for me is: Will December results also be adjusted downward when I look at January results on February 4? We shall see. The very slow discovery—unless it accelerates—today suggests that we will need five more years before we reach employment levels last enjoyed in 2007. Detail’s of this month’s change will be up here tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Two concerns about the data:

    1. The report stated that the largest gain was in transport companies (UPS, FEDEX, Etc) for the holidays.

    2. Participation in the workforce continues to flag:

    Not saying we are not on the uptick, but it is as you say, very slow.