Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline in April (-539,000), and the unemployment rate rose from 8.5 to 8.9 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Since the recession began in December 2007, 5.7 million jobs have been lost. In April, job losses were large and widespread across nearly all major private-sector industries. Overall, private-sector employment fell by 611,000.
The total number of unemployed rose to the highest recorded since the BLS began producing these figures - more than 40 years ago - surpassing all previous post-WWII recessions.
The only buffer to the job loss was temporary hiring by government for the Census, which was considerable. Without that there would have been real trouble in the jobs report. That hiring will continue for a while, but those are not permanent positions and in addition they're something that comes every 10 years then then goes.
U-6, my preferred statistic, which includes all marginally attached workers and those working part-time who would prefer full-time jobs, ticked up by 0.2% to 15.8% (seasonally adjusted.) Unadjusted the figure fell but remains up by nearly 6% year-over-year.
In addition the "birth-death adjustment" was +226,000, close to double the previous month. That's the computer model that "estimates" the number of jobs that are created in the economy but unreported.
February was revised down from -651k to -681k (-30,000) and March was revised from -663k to -699k (-36,000). See a pattern there? That's 66,000 jobs that were reported as existing but revised out later.
If you remember last month we were told that the "second derivative" had improved for the second month in a row.
Uh, no it didn't. Here's the table:
Now add in the 30,000 error over the last few months along with the Census temporary hiring and the rate of loss looks flat (within sampling error.)
Here's the problem - to have a healthy economic recovery you need to gain about 300,000 jobs a month.
Again, employment is a lagging indicator, so you can't take too much from this report in terms of the immediate future or present situation.
But this report provides nothing in the form of "green shoot" argument - at all.
Where We Are, Where We're Heading (2013) - The annual 2013 Ticker
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