May Employment Report

The Employment Situation release for May was not entirely a surprise, given Jim’s post yesterday, but contained unwelcome news nonetheless. WSJ RTE quotes Stephen Stanley of Pierpoint Securities thus: “…consider me worried”.


Note that actual employment rose; but the seasonally adjusted series has flattened out.


may11emp1.gif

Figure 1: Total nonfarm payroll employment, seasonally adjusted (blue), and not seasonally adjusted (red), both in thousands. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS May employment situation, via St. Louis Fed FREDII, and NBER.

Private employment and aggregate hours growth (m/m) are equal, and decelerating.


may11emp2.gif

Figure 2: Log private nonfarm payroll employment, seasonally adjusted (dark blue), and log aggregate weekly hours for production and nonsupervisory workers (dark red), both normalized to zero at 2007M12. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS May employment situation, via St. Louis Fed FREDII, and NBER.

Finally, I think it worthwhile to observe that government employment at the state and local level continues to deduct from overall employment growth.


may11emp3.gif

Figure 3: Total government employment, seasonally adjusted, minus temporary Census workers (teal, left axis), and state and local government employment (pink, right axis), both in thousands. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS May employment situation, via St. Louis Fed FREDII, and NBER.

That is something to keep in mind as state and local government continue to slash budgets. [0] [1]


Reuters article here. For more analysis, see Stone/CBPP.

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13 thoughts on “May Employment Report

  1. Good News!

    I was glad to see government jobs have been shrinking! I’d put up with indefinitely flat overall job growth with falling government jobs!

  2. Dr Pangloss

    Indeed it is good news! We must stop the Kenyan communist post-colonialist usurper from the greatest expansion of the federal gummint since, well, since I don’t know when! Just think, after a few more years of this kind of job creation we will be able to hire pool boys at a much more reasonable rate. And we won’t have those pesky bureaucrats tryin to inspect our lettuce or cure any diseases. If a disease is profitable enough to cure, someone will cure it without meddlesome gummint interventions! Eliminate the NIH! Those numbers will show favorably in next month’s report!
    As one of the few tax-paying citizens in this country I certainly expect something good to come out of this mess. Perhaps an increase in interest rates is called for. I think if we crank interest rates up to about 4% we would see some good old-fashioned dollar strengthening! If nothing else I might get more than 0.05% on my savings account. A deflationary death spiral is good news for a man such as myself! Everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds!

  3. Good News!

    “And we won’t have those pesky bureaucrats tryin to inspect our lettuce or cure any diseases.”
    Yup.
    “Eliminate the NIH!”
    Yup.
    “Those numbers will show favorably in next month’s report!”
    This is incorrect. There will be a temporary job loss: this is a structural change in the economy for the better in the long run. Why do you think Germany’s unemployment fell throughout this Recession?
    “A deflationary death spiral is good news for a man such as myself!”
    Nominal interest rate targets leaves inflation indeterminate in a Ricardian fiscal regime; tou don’t know what you’re talking about.
    Your sarcasm is a pathetic excuse for a lack of argument.

  4. Food Stamp Guy

    Thank god we had the Obama stimulus……what’s a little debt crisis when the stimulus has saved 300 billion jobs. And god bless the Dems for extending unemployment benefits to 2 full years…..so that 44% of those unemployed are now long-term unemployed (pay me not to work…and well..)
    What we need now to get the economy humping is raise taxes on the wealthy, get rid if oil subsidies, subsidize green jobs, and ABOVE ALL protect unions by preventing companies like Boeing from moving to right-to-work states.
    WE CAN BE a THIRD-WORLD ECONOMY with Obama at the helm! God Bless Obama.
    It’s all Bush’s fault.

  5. malcolm

    I’m not sure I understand Figure 3. Have state and local government’s shed 3.3 million (3,300 thousand) jobs since mid 2008?

  6. 2slugbaits

    malcolm Two different axes. The left axis includes federal jobs, the right axis does not. State and local government employment fell by almost 500K.

  7. nilys

    “…ABOVE ALL protect unions by preventing companies like Boeing from moving to right-to-work states.WE CAN BE a THIRD-WORLD ECONOMY with Obama at the helm!”
    This is backwards. Aren’t third-world economies union-less paradises, right-to-work heavens?

  8. malcolm

    I still don’t understand. What do the numbers on the two different axes tell me? How do I read the loss of 500,000 state and local jobs from the
    graph?

  9. 2slugbaits

    malcolm Right side axis, the peak was in 2008 at 19,800. It’s now at 19,300. The left axis (including federal workers) peaks at a little under 22,600 and is now a little above 22,100. The net change in both is roughly half a million.

  10. George

    @Ricardo
    Did not McDonald’s obtain a waiver from the health care legislation?
    Without that Damocles sword to fend off, it would be easier to be “nervy.”

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