The January 2013 Employment Release

Private nonfarm payroll employment in continues to rise, by 166,000; December 2012 employment is revised up by 0.6% (log terms), when incorporating the benchmark revision (0.5% for total nonfarm payroll employment).



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Figure 1: Log private nonfarm payroll employment, Dec. 2012 release (blue) and Jan. 2013 release (red). NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS.

The October through December private employment increases were raised a cumulative 133,000.


The upward revision in total nonfarm payroll employment for March 2012 was 422,000, rather than the 386,000 indicated in the preliminary release in September 2012. Hence, the upward revision was even larger than what was estimated just four months ago.

See also [Economists View], [CR1], [CR2], [Izzo/WSJ RTE], and [Casselman/WSJ RTE], [DeLong], and [Ip/Free Exchange].

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11 thoughts on “The January 2013 Employment Release

  1. kharris

    …and the payroll job gain in January was the weakest in 4 months and below the recent average, and households reported only 17k jobs gained in January and a 2k per month loss, on average, over the past 3 months. Temp job were down and the workweek was down, both possible indicators of slower hiring ahead, and the pace of wage gains dropped right back down to 0.2%, showing that the gain in Q4 was probably tax driven, not labor-demand driven.
    And even if none of that were true, and we just took the 3-month average gain in payroll employment as the immutable truth about the medium-term trend in job gains, it would still be years and years before full employment could be reached.
    While gawking at those monthly trees, keep an eye on the forest.

  2. Edward Lambert

    reply to kharris…
    Realistically how many years can we go into the future without another contraction pulling unemployment back up?
    The answer implies one’s view of where potential real GDP is… for example, if potential real GDP is where the official numbers says, we can go years without another contraction. But if potential real GDP is close to real GDP now, then continuing the economic expansion depends on bubble dynamics to “inflate” it so to speak.

  3. Rip Van Winkle

    This is great news! At the trend rate of payrolls and employment since ’98-’08, given the level of today’s labor underutilization, it looks like we will return to the long-term trend rate per capita by no later than the early to mid-’30s! And I was under the earlier misguided impression that it would take until the early ’40s!
    I might even live long enough to experience the blessed event! Who said the best days of the US are behind us? By ’16-’20, there will be nowhere else to go but UP!
    Wake me when we get to full-time private sector employment per capita that again reaches the levels of the late ’90s.
    In the meantime, I need a nap, and, please, not so loud with the bowling balls and pins.

  4. ppcm

    Too early to be affirmative but should the GDP deviation trend to unemployment persist is it a reverse Okun’s law that is to be set?

  5. Menzie Chinn

    kharris and Rip Van Winkle: I did not mean to imply our troubles are over, by any means. That is why I have been stressing the need for continued stimulus, here, most recently.

  6. Darren

    The sad reality now is, labor force saturation will happen at an Unemployment Rate of 6.5%, rather than the 4.4% of the Bush years.
    This is because Obama has Cloward-Pivened enough people into government dependency and permanent skill atrophy that the proportion of unemployables is 50% higher than before.
    So 6.5% is the lowest it will go before inflation starts, etc.
    There are only going to be another 3M jobs created before the top and the descent into the next recession (which will lead to another round of ‘never let a crisis go to waste’ and more Cloward-Piven destruction of human capital, by design).
    Rip van Winkle,
    Wake me when we get to full-time private sector employment per capita that again reaches the levels of the late ’90s.
    That will never happen. The left has succeeded in its goal of destroying human capital. As I describe above, full employment will now be reached at 6.5%. That is still lower than Europe, where leftist Cloward-Piven destruction has been even more successful.

  7. Menzie Chinn

    Darren: I am amazed at the many things you definitively “know”. Weren’t you the person who stated (12/3 10:52 PM) “The only Asians who will ever rise to high elected office are going to be Republicans, for this reason of merit vs. vote bank value. The operative word is ELECTED office.”? If so, I will have to tell Ambassador Locke, formerly Governor of Washington state, “it was all a dream”. (By the way, would it kill you to google to find out if the factoids you state with such certitude are even remotely related to the truth?)

  8. Darren

    Menzie,
    That is a pretty well-known reason why Asians tend to have an immature understanding of politics. They are the only group that votes against their own interest in voting for high-tax leftism.
    In fact, you are who I think of as the primary example of this.
    Gary Locke hardly counts – he changed even his last name to an Anglicized one, something almost no Chinese do. If he kept his Chinese surname, he would not have risen to elected office in the Democratic Party.
    I see that you dodged the irrefutable points about Bobby Jindal and Nimrata Haley as two current governors of Deep South states.
    I am amazed at how easily and blithely you ignore irrefutable facts. Do Governors Jindal and Haley even exist, in Menzie-world?

  9. Menzie Chinn

    Darren: You said the only Asians to rise to elected office were going to be Republicans. I then provided one counter-example, who you then dismissed, because he “Anglicized” his name.

    I will also note that you are exceedingly ignorant if you think “Locke” is Anglicized. It is as Anglicized as “Chinn” is.

  10. Adam Berger

    I’m more positive on the employment report than most. It looks like over the last two years the Household Survey has lagged the Establishment Survey in terms of new jobs created. Over the last three months, the Establishment Survey has shown an addition of 473,000 jobs while the Household Survey has been essentially flat, which is why the unemployment rate has moved up. If the pattern repeats and we get a jump in the Household jobs number in the next few months, unemployment will move down accordingly.
    You can see the data on my blog (shameless plug) here.

  11. Anonymous

    Simulus idea
    Tax economists who make false predictions and use the money to stimulate the economy.
    IE tax the economists who said the stimulus would keep unemployement below 8%.
    Tax the economists who said the “affordable” health care act would make health care affordable.

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