Saturday, October 3, 2015

September 2015 Employment Change

This most recent report on the Employment Situation, for September 2015, clearly surprised the business media and the financial sector. These data are reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (link). Virtually everyone anticipated job creation at a level of roughly 200,000. The actual result—142,000—came as a shock. Furthermore, data for August and July were also revised downward by 59,000. This impelled me to update my own numbers here. My last report was for April. Back then it looked like 2015 would be weak; five months later, that trend is still weak. Herewith an updated monthly graphic followed by a projection of 2015 based on nine months of actual results:

Thus far, projected job creation in 2015 looks lower than either 2013 and 2014. Since the Great Recession, 2014 has thus far been best, producing an average monthly growth of 260,000 jobs; 2015 (thus far) has produced 198,000—versus 199,000 in 2013.

Next I show two trend lines. The first shows the growth trend between 2013 and 2014. The second the declining trend between 2014 and 2015. In both cases 2014 is shown in pink:

The big picture since the Great Recession (visible on the first, the monthly graphic) is one of hesitant growth. What we must have is around 87,000 new jobs per month—to keep up with our population growth. We’ve averaged well above that; therefore we are not in any dire trouble. But neither have we resumed, or are likely to resume, the exuberant celebration of a Consumption Culture. That game requires confidence; and no matter a few points increase in Consumer Confidence; that confidence fades as rapidly as it increases.