Friday, February 04, 2011

Employment Summary and Part Time Workers, Unemployed over 26 Weeks

by Bill McBride on 2/04/2011 10:13:00 AM

Here are a few more graphs based on the employment report ...

Percent Job Losses During Recessions

Percent Job Losses During RecessionsClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms - this time aligned at maximum job losses.

In the previous post, the graph showed the job losses aligned at the start of the recession.

In terms of lost payroll jobs, the 2007 recession is by far the worst since WWII, and the "recovery" for payroll jobs is one of the slowest.

Part Time for Economic Reasons

Part Time WorkersFrom the BLS report:

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) declined from 8.9 to 8.4 million in January. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
The number of workers only able to find part time jobs (or have had their hours cut for economic reasons) declined to 8.407 million in January.

These workers are included in the alternate measure of labor underutilization (U-6) that declined sharply to 16.1% in January from 16.7% in December. Still very high, but improving.

Unemployed over 26 Weeks

Unemployed Over 26 Weeks This graph shows the number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more.

According to the BLS, there are 6.21 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and still want a job. This was down from 6.44 million in December. This is still very high.

Summary

This was a decent report with two obvious exceptions: the few payroll jobs added, and the slight decline in the average workweek - both potentially weather related.

The best news was the decline in the unemployment rate to 9.0% from 9.4% in December. However this was partially because the participation rate declined to 64.2% - a new cycle low, and the lowest level since the early '80s. Note: This is the percentage of the working age population in the labor force (here is the graph in the galleries of the participation rate). The participation rate has now fallen 2 percentage points during the recession - a huge decline.

The 36,000 payroll jobs added was far below expectations of 150,000 jobs, however this was probably impacted by bad weather during the survey reference period. If so, there should be a strong bounce back in the February report.

The decreases for the long term unemployed, and for the number of part time workers for economic reasons, are good news - although both levels are still very high. The average workweek declined slightly to 34.2 hours (possibly weather related), and average hourly earnings ticked up 8 cents.

If we blame it on the weather, this was a solid report. And we will know about payrolls in February.

• Earlier Employment post: January Employment Report: 36,000 Jobs, 9.0% Unemployment Rate

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