Friday, August 7, 2009

Job losses point to recession end

The July jobs report surprised everyone, with job losses coming in lower than expected, and revisions to prior months showing fewer losses than earlier reported. The unemployment rate hasn't budged now for three months. The chart below better highlights the improvement, as we see that job losses as a percent of the workforce have declined significantly in recent months. All of these developments are consistent with an end to the recession, which probably occurred in June.


Mark A. Sadowski said...

Looking at the BLS report (and other data) it does indeed look like overall output bottomed in June. For example, aggregate hours worked was unchanged in July. Factor in a little productivity growth and output probably increased in July. Unfortunately the NBER probably will not render its final verdict for several months.

Public Library said...

"This recession is continuing to shatter records for long-term unemployment; with roughly six unemployed workers per job, job seekers are not finding work. In July, the number of workers who have been unemployed for over six months increased by 584,000 to 5 million, so that now 3.2% of the labor force has been unemployed at least six months, far surpassing the record high of 2.6% set in June of 1983. Currently over one-third (33.8%) of this country’s 14.5 million unemployed workers have been unable to find work for over half a year, an all-time high. While the pace of layoffs is slowing, unemployed workers are not finding jobs.

There are currently 14.5 million unemployed workers in the United States, but if the ranks of the “marginally attached” (jobless workers who want a job but have stopped actively seeking work and are therefore not counted as officially unemployed) and “involuntary part-time workers” (part-time workers who want full-time jobs but can’t get the hours) are included for an overall “underemployment” count, the figure rises to 25.6 million, which means nearly one in six U.S. workers (16.3%) is either un- or underemployed. This is a slight decline from 16.5% in June. "

Scott Grannis said...

Public: Those are all very valid observations. But for the most part they focus on what has happened up until now. Very little of it focuses on the changes on the margin. As I have tried to emphasize, the changes on the margin are almost all positive. Things are getting less bad and less bad, and that is a necessary precursor to things getting better.