Friday, January 10, 2014

Employment Update: December 2013

Well, employment data for 2013 are now all in, and the results bring echoes of that well-known saying: “Not with a bang but a whimper.” The economy gained 74,000 jobs in December. Revised November estimates added an extra 38,000 to the total jobs gained. Those two figures added produce a gain of 112,000. As a consequence of this, the economy’s total performance in 2013 fell 7,000 jobs below the 2012 performance: 2012: 2.193 million; 2013: 2.186 million. These data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (the press release is here).

To sum up the annual performance, herewith a graphic showing job growth (or loss) from 2007 through and including 2013.

The monthly performance is shown in the next visual. It looks there as if, in December, the economy sort of gave up—just as the year ended.

Finally, herewith the pie chart showing how much of the 2008-2009 job loss has been recovered so far. The answer is 87.2 percent—after four years of trying.

As 2013 ended, great exuberance filled the business media because the Stock Market had performed well through 2013. Those of us who look at job generation as the real measure of economic recovery are entitled to answer that exuberance by saying: “Hold the Hallelujahs, please!” We’re not there yet. First let us recover all the jobs lost. Then let us reflect, in employment, the actual growth in population. And then, finally, we shall have reached the status quo ante, the 2007 levels.

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