The Bureau of Labor Statistics November non-farm payroll report showed that the economy lost 533,000 private sector jobs in November. This is the eleventh straight month of losses, putting the year-to-date job loss toll at 1,911,000, with 66% of these job losses occurring in the last 3 months. BLS also reported that 10.3 million people are unemployed, an increase of 2.7 million over the past 12 months. This is a 6.7% unemployment rate, up 1.7% from a year ago and a 14-year high. This ongoing jobs recession since December 2007 finally caused the NBER to declare an official recession began when this jobs drought began.
Making these numbers all the more serious is the fact that there are now 7.3 million people who would like to work full time but are working part time because their hours have been cut or they can’t find full-time jobs. This forced-into-part-time-work category is up 600,000 in November alone, and up 2.8 million over the last 12 months. This is the fine print of the jobs report—the headline statistics shows that these 7.3 million people are employed and therefore not in the job loss category, but these 7.3 million workers are just hanging on.
Next Friday, we will see Retail Sales for November, which will show us how the holiday shopping season started, and will complement these closely watched numbers to measure consumer activity as the recession deepens. Many economists are calling for 9% unemployment and several quarters of weak GDP growth.
Chart 1 below shows the jobs growth trend since January 2007 to present. Chart 2 below shows which industries jobs were lost or gained last month. Chart 3 shows percent change in private sector jobs since the recession began in December 2007. Here is the full November jobs report.
CHART 1: MONTHLY JOB GAIN/LOSS JANUARY 2007 TO NOVEMBER 2008
CHART 2: NOVEMBER 2008 JOBS BY SECTOR
CHART 3: PERCENT CHANGE IN JOBS SINCE RECESSION BEGAN
Total nonfarm employment peaked in December 2007, coinciding with the start of the recession as declared by the NBER. With the recent acceleration of job losses, nonfarm employment has fallen by 1.4 percent in the first 11 months after the recession began, reflecting the same rate of decline that occurred after the 1990 recession.