Friday, December 5, 2008

The Unemployment Report

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate increased to 6.7% from 6.5% and that the number of jobs decreased by 533,000 in November. This was the largest decrease since December, 1974. Let's put this in perspective. In last month's report the job loss numbers for October were reported as -240,000. Through the year it looked like the economy had lost just under 1.2 million jobs.

In this report, October's estimate was revised downward to -320,000 and if we add in September's revised estimate of -403,000 then the economy has lost more than 1.2 million jobs in the past three months alone (-1.256 million.) The chart below shows the quarterly change in employment. Keep in mind that the fourth quarter only contains two months at this point so this graph understates current problems.

The economy has lost more than 1.9 million jobs thus far in 2008. And employment is a lagging indicator that usually gets worse after the rest of the economy has recovered.

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