Friday, April 04, 2008

Jobs: Nonfarm Payrolls Decline 80,000 in March

by Bill McBride on 4/04/2008 08:40:00 AM

From the BLS: Employment Situation Summary

The unemployment rate rose from 4.8 to 5.1 percent in March, and nonfarm payroll employment continued to trend down (-80,000), the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Over the past 3 months, payroll employment has declined by 232,000.
Residential Construction Employment Click on graph for larger image.

Note: graph doesn't start at zero to better show the change.

Residential construction employment declined 31,000 in March, and including downward revisions to previous months, is down 442.9 thousand, or about 12.8%, from the peak in February 2006. (compared to housing starts off over 50%).

The second graph shows the unemployment rate and the year-over-year change in employment vs. recessions.

Employment Measures and Recessions
Unemployment was higher, and the rise in unemployment, from a cycle low of 4.4% to 5.1% is a recession warning.

Also concerning is the YoY change in employment is barely positive (the economy has added just over 500 thousand jobs in the last year), also suggesting a recession.

The WSJ reports: Economy Shed Jobs in March, Fueling Fears of Recession
Nonfarm payrolls fell 80,000 in March, the Labor Department said Friday, its biggest decline in five years, after falling by 76,000 in both January and February. Both were revised to show even bigger losses.

Had it not been for a rise in government jobs last month, payrolls would have fallen by around 100,000.
Overall this is a very weak report.