Not such a rosy picture for private sector jobs

Here is private sector employment by the numbers (these are private sector jobs figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Between 2003 and 2007, we added 1,750,000 jobs per year or 7 million jobs over 4 years (average of 146k per month).

Between 12/2008 and 12/2010, 7 million jobs were lost (avg. 292k per month)

In 2008, 1 million jobs were lost (avg. 83k per month)

In 2009, 5 million jobs were lost (avg. 417k per month)

In 2010, 1 million jobs were lost (avg. 83k per month)

In 2011, 2 million jobs were added (avg. 166k per month)

In January 2012, 800,000 jobs were lost

In February 2012, 400,000 jobs were added

Net LOSS for 2012 is 400,000 jobs (avg. 200k per month)

In 2012, should the last two months be a reflection of things to come, we will have lost 2.4 million private sector jobs.  There is probably some statistical noise in there; looking at fresh data over a recent 2 month period can be challenging. As it stands, however, it is roughly half the rate of private sector job loss in 2009, yet we have rosy reports of an improving jobs picture blaring from every cable news and business channel. I don’t know what planet the media live on, but it sure isn’t planet Earth. Maybe it’s called “The Re-elect Obama” planet.

It doesn’t really matter what lie is told, however, it’s still a lie because we know what it felt like when we were adding private sector jobs at a rate of 146k per month. These numbers, the only ones we have, just don’t show any broad picture of a jobs recovery. If we could extrapolate any kind of thesis from them, the last 5 months of 2011 was just a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy experience, complete with flat to faltering growth in GDP. The only way to have real jobs growth is to have real GDP growth, and unless we see growth in GDP to match, it’s all just lipstick on the pig.

I’ve attached a graph I made from data I sucked down from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and have the appropriate data labeled so you can get a visual of the private sector employment situation. These are all the official numbers, and I focus on private sector jobs numbers because I don’t believe it is appropriate for government to start hiring when we encounter economic troubles and then call it a recovery because it isn’t a recovery – it’s make work to get reelected at taxpayer expense.


Data for Jan & Feb 2012 is not included on this graph and is as follows:
Jan 2012: 108436
Feb 2012: 108854