Sunday, April 05, 2015

More Employment Graphs: Duration of Unemployment, Unemployment by Education, Construction Employment and Diffusion Indexes

by Bill McBride on 4/05/2015 10:55:00 AM

By request, a few more employment graphs ...

Here are the previous posts on the employment report:

March Employment Report: 126,000 Jobs, 5.5% Unemployment Rate
Employment Report Comments and Graphs

Duration of Unemployment

Unemployment Duration This graph shows the duration of unemployment as a percent of the civilian labor force. The graph shows the number of unemployed in four categories: less than 5 week, 6 to 14 weeks, 15 to 26 weeks, and 27 weeks or more.

The general trend is down for all categories, and the "less than 5 weeks", "6 to 14 weeks" and "15 to 26 weeks" are all close to normal levels. 

The long term unemployed is less than 1.7% of the labor force - the lowest since December 2008 - however the number (and percent) of long term unemployed remains elevated.

Unemployment by Education

Unemployment by Level of EducationThis graph shows the unemployment rate by four levels of education (all groups are 25 years and older).

Unfortunately this data only goes back to 1992 and only includes one previous recession (the stock / tech bust in 2001). Clearly education matters with regards to the unemployment rate - and it appears all four groups are generally trending down.

Although education matters for the unemployment rate, it doesn't appear to matter as far as finding new employment.

Note: This says nothing about the quality of jobs - as an example, a college graduate working at minimum wage would be considered "employed".

Construction Employment

Construction EmploymentThis graph shows total construction employment as reported by the BLS (not just residential).

Since construction employment bottomed in January 2011, construction payrolls have increased by 912 thousand.

Construction employment is still far below the bubble peak - and below the level in the late '90s.

Diffusion Indexes

Employment Diffusion Index The BLS diffusion index for total private employment was at 61.4 in March, down from 65.8 in February.

For manufacturing, the diffusion index was at 47.5, down from 61.3 in February.

Think of this as a measure of how widespread job gains are across industries. The further from 50 (above or below), the more widespread the job losses or gains reported by the BLS.  Above 60 is very good.  From the BLS:
Figures are the percent of industries with employment increasing plus one-half of the industries with unchanged employment, where 50 percent indicates an equal balance between industries with increasing and decreasing employment.
Manufacturing was weak in March - probably due to the decline in oil prices, the strong dollar, some weather impact and the effects of the West Coast port slowdown.

Overall private job growth was fairly widespread in March, a good sign.