April 15, 2024

Economix: Comparing Recoveries: Job Changes

DESCRIPTIONSource: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Chart by Amanda Cox. Horizontal axis shows months. Vertical axis shows the ratio of that month’s nonfarm payrolls to the nonfarm payrolls at the start of recession. Note: Because employment is a lagging indicator, the dates for these employment trends are not exactly synchronized with National Bureau of Economic Research’s official business cycle dates.

The United States added 216,000 jobs on net in March, the Labor Department reported today, slightly faster growth than the February gain, which was revised slightly to 194,000. March also represented the 13th straight month of net job gains in the private sector.

Job gains were relatively widespread — nearly ever major sector added employees, or at least kept payrolls flat — but the industries with the biggest gains were professional and business services, health care, leisure and hospitality, and mining. The biggest loser was local government, which has lost 416,000 jobs since its payrolls peaked in September 2008.

Even most of the winners, though, have a long way to go before returning to their prerecession levels, if they ever do.

The chart above shows economywide job changes in this last recession and recovery compared with other recent ones, with the black line representing the current downturn. Since the downturn began in December 2007, the economy has shed, on net, about 5.3 percent of its nonfarm payroll jobs. And that doesn’t even account for the fact that the working-age population has continued to grow, meaning that if the economy were healthy we should have more jobs today than we had before the recession.

The unemployment rate (measured by a different government survey, and based on how many people are without jobs but are actively looking for work) ticked downward to 8.8 percent in February, from 8.9 percent in February. That means joblessness is at its lowest rate in two years. The number may go up again, though, as more discouraged workers return to actively searching for jobs when they hear employers are hiring again.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=1bebacc621f0555d7e0a81cefb93b18a

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