Friday, April 6, 2012

Jobs Update Disappoints

From Calculated Risk:

Today's Nonfarm Payrolls number from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was a miss, with employment in the U.S. expanding in March by 120,000 jobs, just half the increase observed in either January or February and barely enough to cover the increase in the working-age population. The graph above shows just how anemic the job recovery has been. We are still 5 million jobs short of the cycle high reached in December 2007:

This is a recovery?

What's worse, the new jobs on average pay less than the old ones.

And look who is fighting for those new jobs! John Hussman observes:

"If you dig into the payroll data, the picture that emerges is breathtaking. Since the recession 'ended' in June 2009, total non-farm payrolls in the U.S. have grown by 1.84 million jobs. However, if we look at workers 55 years of age and over, we find that employment in that group has increased by 2.96 million jobs. In contrast, employment among workers under age 55 has actually contracted by 1.12 million jobs. Even over the past year, the vast majority of job creation has been in the 55-and-over group, while employment has been sluggish for all other workers, and has already turned down....

In short, what we've observed in the employment figures is not recovery, but desperation. Having starved savers of interest income, and having repeatedly subjected investors to Fed-induced financial bubbles that create volatility without durable returns, the Fed has successfully provoked job growth of the obligatory, low-wage variety. Over the past year, the majority of this growth has been in the 55-and-over cohort, while growth has turned down among other workers. Meanwhile, overall labor force participation continues to fall as discouraged workers leave the labor force entirely, which is the primary reason the unemployment rate has declined. All of this reflects not health, but despair, and explains why real disposable income has grown by only 0.3% over the past year."[Complete comment here.]

Boomers are NOT leaving the job market.

The latest monthly commentary from IceCap Asset Management of Halifax, Nova Scotia, comes with a title that is apropos: "I Need a Job". The report points out that the number of people working part-time in the U.S. "for economic reasons" (i.e. cannot find full-time work) has doubled from 4 to 8 million so far during the Greater Depression. Moreover, the overall labor force participation rate is trending downward:

% of noninstitutionalized Americans with a job

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