Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy Labor Day!

The 216,000 jobs lost in August is a BLS calculation from payrolls.

The 9.7% unemployment rate is the result of the Household Survey. These comments from a post at the Big Picture are about the Household Survey: (emp add)
What was really key were the details of the Household Survey, which provide a rather alarming picture of what is happening in the labor market.

First, employment in this survey showed a plunge of 392,000, but that number was flattered by a surge in self-employment (whether these newly minted consultants were making any money is another story) as wage & salary workers (the ones that work at companies, big and small) plunged 637,000 – the largest decline since March (when the stock market was testing its lows for the cycle). As an aside, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also publishes a number from the Household survey that is comparable to the nonfarm survey (dubbed the population and payroll-adjusted Household number), and on this basis, employment sank – brace yourself - by over 1 million, which is unprecedented. We shall see if the nattering nabobs of positivity discuss that particularly statistic in their post-payroll assessments; we are not exactly holding our breath.
Wage & salary jobs are generally good jobs (compared to self-employed). Losing 637K of those is serious hurt.

Most of you probably read headlines like US jobless figure rises, but not as rapidly as before, and others to the effect that 216K jobs lost is the best number this year - implying that we're about to get on the road to recovery. Economic "happy talk" has been a prominent feature of economic reporting this year. It may not continue.


I tour large industrial factories. One question we ask each year is how many employees. I see a lot of in 2008 1,130; in 2009 480. Many of these factories are the main economic horse in small mid west towns. It is just terrible.

There are other ways these folks are getting hurt. Give wage and benefit concessions to keep factory in USA. Or the company will fire everybody and hire back as third party employees at lower wages and next to no benefits.

Of course when you talk to these very nice people they are enraged by Obama and his plans to socialize medicine - which would do all of them a great favor. I try to tell them not to watch Fox news, but don't go much futher than that to keep the discussion civil.

I really think it is long past time to stop this free trade non-sense before this countries wealth demographic matches Brazil.

By Anonymous Mart, at 9/07/2009 12:41 PM  

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