Friday, December 5, 2008

In Perspective: A Few Factoids To Better Understand Today's Jobs Number

Map from BLS showing a state-by-state map of 12 month change in unemployment rates. Dark blue is a 1.1% point to 40.0% point increase. You can generate your own maps here.

  1. The 'jobs' number normally is referred to as the jobless claims number released every Thursday. NFP refers to non-farm-payrolls, the report released the first Friday of every month by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  2. As per Congressman Rush Holt's (D - NJ) email today, the report represents the most jobs lost in a single month since 1974.

  3. "The share of all men ages 16 and over who are working is now at its lowest level since the government began keeping statistics in the 1940s." (NYT)

  4. "Coupled with sharp upward revisions to September and October figures, the US has lost about 1.2m jobs since the start of September, the largest three-month loss in any period since the months immediately following the end of the second world war, according to Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research." (FT)

  5. "The number of jobs lost in the current recession [1.9 million this year, so far], which began in December 2007, surpasses the 1.6 million jobs lost in the 2001 recession." (CNN)

  6. Before getting excited that the worst is behind us, few economists believe this to be true. In fact, "[Mickey] Levy (BoA Economist)...notes that in the past five recessions, the total number of U.S. jobs declined from its peak by about 2%. In this downturn, a loss of that scale would translate into a decline of 2.8 million jobs in all -- or about 900,000 additional jobs." (WSJ)


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