Friday, March 9, 2012

US Unemployment: Another Good Month

Part of me wants to celebrate what appears to be strong sustained job growth signaling the steady march toward normalcy.  The other part is sobered by the realization that at his pace that march will take many years.  But every journey starts with a single step - or something like that - so I am still in glass half full mode.

The BLS reports today that another 227,000 jobs were created in February while the unemployment rate held steady at 8.3%. Actually both side of this is good news, the jobs numbers are great and at 200+ K we are creating many more jobs than new working age people, and the fact the new job seekers kept the unemployment rate up is good because it likely shows that people are perceiving that the job market is improving and starting to look for work again.

So is is another good month and we are definitely on the path back, plus good news in Europe as the Greek mess looks at least reasonably contained leaves me reasonably optimistic.

But this is the dismal science so here is the sobering graph courtesy of the New York Times which compares job losses in the post war recessions:

Source: New York Times from Bureau of Labor Statistics Data. Chart by Amanda Cox.
Horizontal axis shows months. Vertical axis shows the ratio of that month’s nonfarm payrolls to the nonfarm payrolls at the start of recession. Note: Because employment is a lagging indicator, the dates for these employment trends are not exactly synchronized with National Bureau of Economic Research’s official business cycle dates.

1 comment:

Cameron Mulder said...

I think this is evidence against the "policy uncertainty" theory on why the labor market was not improving.