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Friday, January 05, 2007

December Employment Report

by Calculated Risk on 1/05/2007 02:50:00 AM

The BLS reports: U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose by 167,000 in December, after a revised 154,000 gain in November. The unemployment rate was steady at 4.5% in December.

Click on graph for larger image.

Here is the cumulative nonfarm job growth for Bush's 2nd term. The gray area represents the expected job growth (from 6 million to 10 million jobs over the four year term). Job growth is about in the middle of the expected range.

The following two graphs are the areas I've been watching closely: residential construction and retail employment.

Residential construction employment decreased by 16,200 jobs in December and is down 133.6 thousand, or about 4.0%, from the peak in February. This is the beginning of the loss of several hundred thousand residential construction jobs over the next year or so.

Note the scale doesn't start from zero: this is to better show the change in employment.

Retail employment lost 9,200 jobs in December. The YoY change in retail employment is now -0.4%.

The YoY decrease in retail employment is concerning: see Retail Employment

Overall this is a solid report. The expected job losses in residential construction employment has just started, but the spillover to retail isn't significant yet. I expect the rate of residential construction job losses to increase over the next few months.