Friday, October 2, 2009

September Employment Report

The latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is a bummer:
Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 263,000 in September. From May through September, job losses averaged 307,000 per month, compared with losses averaging 645,000 per month from November 2008 to April. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, payroll employment has fallen by 7.2 million.
The unemployment rate also ticked up, from 9.7% to 9.8%, and that somewhat understates the badness of the situation, because labor force participation fell, suggesting that people were giving up on finding a job. While the NBER may later tell us we are indeed technically out of the recession, the time has not come let up on efforts to stimulate demand, Paul Krugman writes in his Times column:
[T]he administration’s own economic projection — a projection that takes into account the extra jobs the administration says its policies will create — is that the unemployment rate, which was below 5 percent just two years ago, will average 9.8 percent in 2010, 8.6 percent in 2011, and 7.7 percent in 2012.

This should not be considered an acceptable outlook. For one thing, it implies an enormous amount of suffering over the next few years. Moreover, unemployment that remains that high, that long, will cast long shadows over America’s future.
See also Brad DeLong.

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