Details of January Non-Farm Payrolls

Let’s take a closer look at the details of the January Non-Farm Payrolls report, and see what data points leap out:

• Total job losses since the recession started in December 2007: 3.6 million;

• Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 4.1 million;

• Losses over the last three months: 1.8 million (Jan = 598, Dec = 577k, Nov = 597k);

• Unemployment rate for full-time workers spiked to 8%;

• For the first time since records began in 1939, there were three consecutive months of 500k + job losses;

• Job losses were broad based, with the diffusion index down to an all-time low of 25.3%;

• Household survey showed a record 1.24 million job plunge (Since data began in 1950)

• The calendar year 2008 saw 3 Million Job Losses;

• The employment-population ratio fell to 60.5%, down from 62.7% at the beginning of the recession, — the lowest rate since 1986.

• Unemployment rate: 16-year high (1992);

• January’s payroll drop of 598,000: most since December 1974;

• Payroll Revisions for 2008 were 400,000 more than initially announced;

• The 3.5 million job loss since January 2008 is the largest 12-month decline since the government started compiling those figures in 1939;

• U-6 Marginally attached and involuntary part-time workers: 13.9% last month — up almost five percent;

• The employment-to-population ratio was the lowest since 1986.

Also worth noting: Our “modest proposal” from last summer that U3 and U6 data should be reported has gained traction. The WSJ prominently mentioned U6 this month:

By some broader measures, labor-market conditions are even worse than the main numbers suggest. When marginally attached and involuntary part-time workers are included, the rate of unemployed or underemployed workers actually reached 13.9% last month, up almost five percentage points from a year earlier. The employment-to-population ratio was the lowest since 1986.


Unemployment Reporting: A Modest Proposal (U3 + U6) (June 2008)

BLS, Employment Situation Summary

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