Saturday, April 7, 2012

Job Gain/Loss by Sector, March 2012

Herewith the employment change from February to March in a somewhat different format. I am showing actual employment in the two months, the gain or loss, and then the percent gain or loss in each of the sectors. The sectors are sorted by percent gain.

Employment Change by Sector
(Values in 000 or %)
Sector
February
March
Gain/Loss

2012
2012
Value
%





Total non-farm
132,701
132,821
120
0.09
Total Private
110,703
110,824
121
0.11





Manufacturing
11,891
11,928
37
0.31
Leisure and Hospitality
13,548
13,587
39
0.29
Utilities
561
562
1.2
0.21
Financial Activities
7,706
7,721
15
0.19
Education and Health Services
20,176
20,213
37
0.18
Professional and Business Services
17,758
17,789
31
0.17
Mining
834
835
1
0.12
Wholesale Trade
5,590
5,594
4.1
0.07
Transportation and Warehousing
4,353
4,356
2.8
0.06
Other Services
5,359
5,362
3
0.06
Government
21,998
21,997
-1
0.00
Construction
5,558
5,551
-7
-0.13
Retail Trade
14,728
14,694
-33.8
-0.23
Information
2,641
2,632
-9
-0.34

This view of things shows that Retail, which sustained the largest losses, did a little better than the Information sector (that’s the media and publishing). Manufacturing did better than the Education/Health, although both gained the same number of jobs.

That overall growth rate of 0.09 percent in one month suggests that, if it remains in place, it will take 29 months (August 2014), before we shall have once more achieved the employment level we had at the end of 2007. Meanwhile, of course, the workforce has grown. Those two years remind me of the Pharaoh’s dream that Joseph interpreted as meaning seven lean years in Genesis 41.

The tabulation is also interesting in that it shows the relative importance of the sectors.  Government is our largest employer—and it is that because virtually our entire educational sector falls into that category. The Education and Health Services sector, which includes non-government education, is dominated by the health sector. Combined into layers, these data produce my favorite pyramid or children’s “top”:


Here I’ve added an agriculture sector, not present in the table, using a 5 million employment figure; it somewhat overstates the total. I call this a top because it’s top-heavy and stays in balance only by the vigorous application of a whip. We live in an amazingly rich country considering that most of our consumption is not, strictly speaking, of the basic and necessary kind. And hence we can lose 8.7 million jobs and keep on trucking.

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