Friday, March 04, 2011

Employment Summary and Part Time Workers, Unemployed over 26 Weeks

by Bill McBride on 3/04/2011 10:25:00 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 in graph gallery.

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

In the previous post, the graph showed the job losses aligned at maximum job losses.

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) was essentially unchanged at 8.3 million in February. 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 slightly to 8.34 million in February from 8.407 million in January.

These workers are included in the alternate measure of labor underutilization (U-6) that declined to 15.9% in February from 16.1% in January. 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 5.993 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and still want a job. This was down from 6.21 million in January. This is still very high.

Summary

This wasn't a great report. Heck, it wasn't a "good" report. But it was a little better than most recent reports.

If we average the last two months together, the 63,000 payroll jobs added in January and the 192,000 payroll jobs in February, that gives 127,500 payroll jobs per month. And that is a barely enough to keep up with the growth in the labor force. Private payrolls were a little better at an average of 145,000 per month, as state and local governments continued to lay off workers (something we expect all year).

The decline in the unemployment rate from 9.0% to 8.9%, was good news, especially since the participation rate was unchanged at 64.2%. Note: This is the percentage of the working age population in the labor force.

The decreases for the long term unemployed, and for the number of part time workers for economic reasons, and the decline in U-6 to 15.9% is all welcome news - although the levels are still very high.

The average workweek was unchanged at 34.2 hours, and average hourly earnings ticked up 1 cent. Both disappointing.

It is interesting to note that construction has now added payroll jobs in 2011. I think construction will add payroll jobs this year for the first time since 2005.

Overall this was a small step in the right direction.

• Earlier Employment post: February Employment Report: 192,000 Jobs, 8.9% Unemployment Rate

Last 10 Posts