Friday, January 9, 2015

Employment Update: December 2014

Another year has passed and therefore we have complete numbers for 2014 issued today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (link).

I’ve tracked these data on a monthly basis (with two or three skips only) since February 2010. The series, from March 2011 forward, can be found on this version of LaMarotte. My purpose, when I first began, was to see how long it would take the U.S. economy to recover the total jobs lost in 2008 and 2009, the Great Recession, 8.7 million jobs. Well, it took four full years (2010-2013) and five months to recover the lost jobs. After that, from June through the present, the economy has been recovering the jobs lost due to an absence of actual job growth since 2008, a total of 6.6 million jobs. As of December of 2014, we have recovered 22.1 percent of those jobs as well, suggesting that “normal,” meaning status quo ante, will be reached some time in 2015—unless another recession sets in this year.

Now for the December 2014—and the year 2014—results. In December we gained 252,000 new jobs, a healthy number. November had the largest gain in 2015, 353,000 jobs. For the year as a whole, we gained a total of 2.961 million jobs, the best performance since 2010. Graphics by month and by year follow:

In this report, annual figures all show actual (rather than projected) data. The 2014 total, however, may be (and most likely will be) revised by BLS in February. Given current trends, the revision may very well be upward.

As we wave good-bye to 2014, the U.S. economy is acting robust and the dollar is strong. Gas prices are at their lowest in a very long time. By contrast, a sense of crisis still wafts over Europe. China’s growth has softened. Japan is still in its now decades-long slump—perhaps showing what the future holds for the global economy. We shall see. My own view is that there must surely be a Third Way—something other than frenetic growth on the upside and abysmall slumps on the other. 2015 may show us which way things will be trending.

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