Friday, May 08, 2009

A bit less painful 

Many are commenting on the fact that this month's employment figures were boosted by temporary government jobs for Census workers. Let us look instead at one-month changes in private employment, above. We're still losing jobs, and while we're beginning to lose at a slower rate we're still shedding at a much faster rate than last October. This isn't the same thing as stabilizing, as Richard Moody of Forward Capital noted. Industrial durable goods were hardest hit in the manufacturing sector, while we're also seeing a decline in general office work:
The professional and business services industry lost 122,000 jobs in April. This industry has shed an average of 139,000 jobs per month since October 2008. Half of the April decline occurred in temporary help services.

Casey Mulligan notes that productivity is still rising, which he believes will end up creating an upward revision to first quarter GDP. Meanwhile, James Hamilton looks at the initial unemployment claims data and thinks there's about an 85% chance the worst is behind us. That could mean just that Tufnel's amp is back to 10.