The July Employment Situation

Today, BLS released data for July. Nonfarm payroll employment growth of 165,000 exceeded expectations of 100,000 (Bloomberg). However, overall, employment indicators continue to rise only slowly.


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Figure 1: Nonfarm payroll employment (blue), and household series adjusted to conform to NFP concept (red), and three month centered moving average (dark red). NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS, NBER and author’s calculations.

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Figure 2: Log nonfarm payroll employment (blue), private nonfarm payroll employment (red), and private average weekly hours index (dark red), all normalized to 2007M12=0. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS, NBER and author’s calculations.

Note that private payrolls have been growing faster than total nonfarm. That’s because — in contrast to previous recoveries — the government has been shedding jobs (105,000 over the past year), particularly at the state and local level [1] (can’t have too few teachers — we’re smart enuff already!).


Additional discussion at Izzo/WSJ RTE, Thoma, Duy/EV and CR.


Update 8/4/2012, 8:10am: Perspective from Jeff Frankel.

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6 thoughts on “The July Employment Situation

  1. Jonathan

    It is kind of interesting to me that if you take out government employment contraction, the jobs numbers look much better. The irony in that is we have to assume, given the statements, that the government numbers under the GOP would be worse. Unless you’re a belief-first, deny-fact ideologue who thinks all government retards growth, then the jobs numbers would be worse. This at least is normal political campaigning.

  2. Bruce Hall

    But, oddly, education and government employment increased in Wisconsin by more than 13,000 during the Jan-Jun period under uber-neo-con-anti-government Gov. Walker.
    We need some university professors railing about that.
    … and they can’t talk about the increase being greater because the decline was greater because that’s not valid for this site.

  3. rj sigmund

    any thoughts about how much the seasonal adjustement due to layoffs associated with the end of the school year played into this report…thoma has a link up showing 321,000 fewer teachers, hence less to be adjusted…table B1 shows 1,204,000 less jobs this month, NSA

  4. Ricardo

    Menzie wrote:
    Note that private payrolls have been growing faster than total nonfarm. That’s because — in contrast to previous recoveries — the government has been shedding jobs (105,000 over the past year), particularly at the state and local level [1] (can’t have too few teachers — we’re smart enuff already!).
    Is the problem with declining government jobs really not enough teachers?
    Bankrupt California cities slash public services to fund six-figure pensions

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