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Friday, May 02, 2008

Jobs: Nonfarm Payrolls Decline 20,000

by Calculated Risk on 5/02/2008 08:44:00 AM

From the BLS: Employment Situation Summary

Nonfarm payroll employment was little changed in April (-20,000), following job losses that totaled 240,000 in the first 3 months of the year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. The unemployment rate, at 5.0 percent, also was little changed in April. Employment continued to decline in construction, manufacturing, and retail trade, while jobs were added in health care and in professional and technical services.
The first graph shows the unemployment rate and the year-over-year change in employment vs. recessions.

Employment Measures and Recessions Click on graph for larger image.

Unemployment was essentially unchanged, but the rise in unemployment, from a cycle low of 4.4% to 5.0% is a recession warning.

Also concerning is the YoY change in employment is barely positive (the economy has added only 460 thousand jobs in the last year), also suggesting a recession.

Note the current recession indicated on the graph is "probable", and is not official.

The second graph shows residential construction employment.

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

Residential construction employment declined 31,100 in April, and including downward revisions to previous months, is down 478 thousand, or about 13.8%, from the peak in February 2006. (compared to housing starts off over 50%).

This is the fourth straight month of job losses.