Employment Estimates in the Run-up to the 2001 Recession

Figure 1: Nonfarm payroll employment, 000’s s.a., various vintages. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray.

The latest vintage says March 2000 NFP employment growth (one year before the recession) was 467,000, and 4.6% m/m annualized (in log terms).

17 thoughts on “Employment Estimates in the Run-up to the 2001 Recession

  1. 2slugbaits

    I’m assuming that a fair amount of that 467,000 employment growth was due to the hiring of census workers.

      1. pgl

        Let’s ask Steven what was the significance of Trump’s hour long rant yesterday afternoon.

        Oh yea he did brag about the latest from BLS which noted the 312 thousand increase in employment per the Payroll Survey. No one asked him about the Household Survey which showed no increase in the employment to population ratio.

        Trump also said real wages grew last year by 3.2%. Really? Nominal hourly earning rose by 3.2% but wasn’t inflation 2.2%? Not according to Trump who explicitly declared we have zero inflation. I might say Trump lied but Rick would object. Maybe Rick has a point as Trump is indeed stupid enough to believe the lies of Stephen Moore.

    1. Gwyan Rhabyt

      That census hiring can mask signals of an incipient recession. Given that next year is 2020, maybe we should be looking more closely at this.

  2. AS

    Professor Chinn,
    Any thoughts about the year over year percentage change in non farm employment (FRED: PAYEMS) relating to hinting at recession? Looking back to the 1950s it seems that the Y/Y % change in PAYEMS starts to plummet considerably prior to the recession start. The current Y/Y percent change in PAYEMS seems somewhat similar to the 2000 period, prior to the plummet. A chart of the GS10 minus the tb3ms rates and the Y/Y PAYEMS percent change looks interesting.

  3. Erik Poole

    Weird. I would have thought that big employment growth preceded most recessions.

    So should one conclude that small or flat employment growth often precedes recessions? Perhaps there is a useful stylized fact about recessions that I missed.

  4. Bruce Hall

    I used to think that, for the economy, good news was bad news because people would start thinking things could only get worse, and that bad news was good news because people would think that things would have to get better. But now I listen to the local news which tells me if the automotive and housing industries are growing or shrinking and that gives me a pretty reliable indicator that the stock market and and international commodity prices, which are influenced by a few big players, don’t seem to do. That’s not completely tongue in cheek.

    1. 2slugbaits

      Bruce Hall I didn’t interpret Menzie’s post as predicting a recession because of a bump in the employment numbers. My interpretation is that we shouldn’t discount the possibility of a recession a year from now based solely on the fact that the December establishment job numbers were quite strong. The stock market seems to have taken the good news as a signal that a recession is not in the offing despite other troubling indicators, such as the weak ISM report and the likelihood of a 10yr/3mon yield inversion.

      It will be interesting to see how the government shutdown impacts the unemployment rate for January. The December data showed an uptick in the unemployment rate and an increase of 276,000 unemployed individuals.

  5. pgl

    White House advisor Kudlow says Apple technology may have been ‘picked off’ by China


    I’m sure this headline will get PeakTrader all worked up but it seems Kudlow is smoking crack. They are not stealing the iPhone software. And why would they when Google licenses its superior Android software for no charge.

    Could someone teach is cokehead how to even use a smart phone?

  6. pgl

    More on Kudlow’s absurd claim:


    “With no evidence or context provided whatsoever, it appears that Kudlow is trying to deflect any blame for Apple’s poor stock performance away from Trump and onto China.”

    Yoni is right about this his close?

    “It’s downright embarrassing to see someone of Kudlow’s stature make such a bold statement with absolutely no foundation of support whatsoever. Then again, with the political environment being what it is today, we can’t realistically say that it’s all that surprising.”

    Could someone let Yoni know that Kudlow has been a liar political hack for generations?

    1. 2slugbaits

      Yesterday Trump made some pretty boneheaded comments about wanting 100% of Apple’s production done here in the US. Apparently Trump is a big fan of autarky. What an idiot.

      I was also confused about his claim that he could use emergency powers to build his wall if he wanted to. Whether he can or not is legally unclear at best, but assuming that he can, doesn’t that undermine his demand that funding for the wall be part of the budget deal to open the government? Hey, if he can use emergency powers, then why not just pass the previous budget that passed the Senate without funding for the wall and then just use his emergency powers to build his damn wall? If he truly believes he already has the power to build the wall, then why is he putting the country through all this pain?

      1. pgl

        On producing Apple iPhones. When they pay Foxconn $200 for one of those phones, about $190 of that price tag goes to Foxconn buying components made in places like Korea and Japan. The value-added from Foxconn’s assembly is about $10 per phone. Of course understanding processed trade is well beyond the mental capabilities of Trump and his crew of pretend economists.

      2. pgl

        Census reports our imports from China by product category with one striking example:


        (41050) Cell phones and other household goods, n.e.c.

        We imported $70 billion of cell phones that were ASSEMBLED for Apple by Foxconn in China in 2017. Trump has some idiot idea that we should move this assembly function to the U.S. Of course the $70 billion is gross output not value-added. The value-added is closer to $4 billion as Foxconn has to spend $66 billion on components made in places like Japan and Korea.
        Most people know this but not our Idiot in Chief!

Comments are closed.