Friday, June 1, 2012

Employment Update: May 2012

With its release of the May 2012 employment change numbers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised its April results, downward, by a substantial 49,000 jobs. We thought we’d gained 115,000 jobs last month; no; it was only 66,000. And the job gains this months were 69,000. Nothing to cheer about here. The graphic, obtained from numbers pointed to by the BLS press release (link), follows:

Our economy is stuck in the Horse Latitudes. Those regions of the globe are between 30 and 35 degrees, both in the northern and in the southern hemispheres, called the subtropical regions, where a high-pressure system dominates, little rain falls, and winds are mixed, weak, and often altogether missing. As tradition has it, the northern region got its name because the early Spanish sailors, who often transported horses to the American subcontinent, saw horses die on board as ships lay becalmed for weeks on end. Nothing furthers, as the I Ching might say—except our dynamically-changing explanations. The last is that problems in the Eurozone are throwing a big, threatening shadow.

The next graphic compares results, year-to-date, thus in each case for the January-May period, for the three years of our recovery from the Great Recession. This year we've managed to under-perform both 2010 and 2011.

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