Some See Recovery in the Employment Report

I’ll keep my comments about the August employment report mercifully short. I suspect you’ve already absorbed more information than you need.

First, here’s the BLS short-form analysis:

Nonfarm payroll employment changed little (-54,000) in August, and the unemployment rate was about unchanged at 9.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Government employment fell, as 114,000 temporary workers hired for the decennial census completed their work. Private-sector payroll employment continued to trend up modestly (+67,000).

The spin by and large was that this was a good report in that it puts to rest the double dip fears. If you’re tempted to mumble about grasping at straws, I’m with you.

Look behind the headline numbers and you see health care accounting for 27,000 new jobs, mining 8,000, temp workers up 17,000 and construction workers picking up 19,000 new jobs. Ten thousand of the “new” construction jobs arose from striking workers returning to work.

Do the math and you can see that these numbers account for more than the reported 67,000 gain, so absent some miscellaneous gains, someone had to lose some jobs, right. Well that would be the manufacturing sector which was down 27,000. To be fair, a lot of that relates to normal shutdowns of auto plants in late summer.

Toss out health care jobs which seem to grow like Topsy regardless of the economy (can you spell government support?) and I think it’s pretty obvious we aren’t going anywhere very fast. The private sector just isn’t hiring.

The chart at the top of this post from Calculated Risk pretty much sums up the disaster that’s been visited upon the American worker. Yesterday’s employment report depicts a recovery that is largely invisible to the majority of the country. I find it difficult to take much solace in it.

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About Tom Lindmark 401 Articles

I’m not sure that credentials mean much when it comes to writing about things but people seem to want to see them, so briefly here are mine. I have an undergraduate degree in economics from an undistinguished Midwestern university and masters in international business from an equally undistinguished Southwestern University. I spent a number of years working for large banks lending to lots of different industries. For the past few years, I’ve been engaged in real estate finance – primarily for commercial projects. Like a lot of other finance guys, I’m looking for a job at this point in time.

Given all of that, I suggest that you take what I write with the appropriate grain of salt. I try and figure out what’s behind the news but suspect that I’m often delusional. Nevertheless, I keep throwing things out there and occasionally it sticks. I do read the comments that readers leave and to the extent I can reply to them. I also reply to all emails so feel free to contact me if you want to discuss something at more length. Oh, I also have a very thick skin, so if you disagree feel free to say so.

Enjoy what I write and let me know when I’m off base – I probably won’t agree with you but don’t be shy.

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