Diary

The Road to 4 million (March jobs report)

Jobs gained / (lost) in March 2010 per the US Dept of Labor  (prelim):          162,000

Jobs gained / (lost) in February 2010 per the US Dept of Labor  (prelim):     (14,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in January 2010 per the US Dept of Labor  (final):         14,000

Jobs gained / (lost) in December 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (final):    (109,000)   

Jobs gained / (lost) in November 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (final):       64,000   

Jobs gained / (lost) in October 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (final):         (224,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in September 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (final) :   (225,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in August 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (final) :        (211,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in July 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (final) :             (344,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in June 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (final) :            (504,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in May 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (final) :             (347,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in April 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (final):              (582,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in March 2009 per the US Dept of Labor (final):            (753,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in February 2009 per the US Dept of Labor (final) :       (726,000)

 

Total jobs gained / (lost) since Obama took office :                                (3,799,000)   

 

Number of jobs promised by the Obama administration :                           4,000,000

Number of jobs remaining to hit goal :                                                      7,799,000

Link to Bureau of Labor Statistics data (raw figures of jobs gained / (lost)).

Job gains came in at 162,000 in March, the best showing in three years, although a bit below consensus estimates.  In other encouraging signs, final January numbers were revised from a loss of (26,000) to a gain of 14,000, and February losses were reduced from (36,000) to (14,000).

Job growth in March was somewhat propped up by continued temporary hiring in the federal Census Bureau to assist in the 2010 census (about 48,000 hires in March).  These jobs will end in the third quarter of the year once the census is complete.  The numbers within the various sectors also showed a positive trend for the month as even some of the hardest-hit industries showed some growth this month, such as construction (+15,000 jobs) and manufacturing (+17,000).

Unemployment rate as of : March 2010, 9.7%

February 2010, 9.7%

January 2010, 9.7%

December 2009,  10.0%

November 2009, 10.0%

October 2009, 10.1%

September 2009, 9.8%

August 2009 : 9.7%

July 2009: 9.4%

June 2009: 9.5%

May 2009: 9.4%

April 2009  8.9%

March 2009 : 8.6%

February 2009 : 8.2%

 

Link to Bureau of Labor Statistics data (unemployment rate trends)

 

Unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.7% in February.  The “underemployment” rate (a measure including those that have quit looking for work, as well as those settling for part-time work when they can’t find a full-time job) stood at 16.9%, ticking up slightly from February’s 16.8%. .

 

Link to March 2010 Release of Unemployment Data from Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

It’s important to note that the jobs losses and the unemployment rate are determined through separate surveys.  Job losses come from Establishment Survey Data, and the unemployment rate comes from Household Survey Data.  While the two measures should be directionally consistent, differences in the methodology can occasionally lead to what might appear to be disparate results.  This month is a prime example of such a case as the economy added 162,000 jobs, but yet the unemployment rate was unchanged.

 

Here’s a collection of reactions on the job numbers from leading economist as compiled by the Wall Street Journal.  Generally, the tone seems upbeat, but cautious.

 

 

Notes:

  1. Number of jobs promised by the Obama administration has varied between 3.5 – 4 million.  He promised 4 million early, and then started easing off on that.  I’m sticking with his original promise. (also “The road to 4 million” sounds a little better than “The road to 3.5 million). 
  2. The above is tracking only new jobs created / lost as tracked by the Department of Labor through its Bureau of Labor statistics.  Obama team has repeatedly said the 4 million represents jobs created or saved.  Since a “saved” job is highly subjective and can’t be calculated by any consistent standard, they are not accounted for above.
  3. Obama administration would likely dispute that the current job losses should be held against them, but that is life in the big city when you’re President.  The last economic recession started in March 2001 when George W Bush had been in office for 1.5 months.  Democrats were only too eager to hang that around his neck (ignoring the fact that it is economically impossible to drive the economy into recession in that short a time period).  Also, it is only fair to assume that Obama’s pledge involves a net gain of 4 million jobs as of the point when his administration took charge.  We have now lost 4 million jobs since he took office, and if we gain those back to end up where we started, I hardly think that fulfills his promise.
  4. Updates to continue monthly