"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Employment Situation

This came out three and a half hours ago, so this is probably not news to any of you at this point.
Anyway, this is the Employment Situation report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.  This is considered the definitive look at employment levels and the unemployment rate in this country.  The Challenger Report,, the Monster Index, ADP, all of these are pale shadows of this ultimate report.
In February, a seasonally-adjusted 192,000 jobs were added to nonfarm payroll lists.  The official unemployment rate was 8.9%, average hourly earnings were unchanged, and the average workweek was 34.2 hours.
For March, the Econoday-surveyed analysts called for the following:  200,000 new nonfarm jobs (seasonally adjusted), no change in the unemployment rate, a 0.2% increase in average hourly earnings, and an increase in the average workweek to 34.3 hours.
We turn now to the BLS for the official summary of the results for March.  Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 216,000 (beating expectations) and the unemployment rate fell slightly to 8.8% (also beating expectations).  The average workweek hit 34.3 hours, and average hourly earnings remained unchanged.
Now, that 8.8% unemployment rate represents 13.5 million people out of work.  6.1 million of those persons are long-term unemployed (meaning they have been jobless for 27 weeks or more).  The long-term unemployed now represent 45.5% of the total number of people unemployed (up from last month's 43.9%).
There are two categories of people who are not counted as unemployed, but whom a number of economists believe should be counted:  involuntary part-time workers (people who would take permanent full-time jobs if they could find them), and individuals marginally attached to the labor force (people who are not working, who want jobs, and who are available for work, but who have not searched for work in the last 4 weeks).  There are 8.4 million involuntary part-time workers , and 2.4 million marginally attached individuals.  Including them, the effective unemployment rate is more like 14.4%.

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