Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 4, 2011

PRIVATE-SECTOR JOB GROWTH.... In the previous post, we talked about the new monthly jobs report, but in keeping with tradition, here's a slightly different chart -- one showing just the private sector job market.

For much of 2010, this was important because of the sharp differences we've seen between the private and public sectors. Most notably, the rise and fall of Census Bureau jobs can offer a skewed picture -- some months, such as May 2010, look better than they should, because the monthly total is exaggerated by hundreds of thousands of Census jobs. Other months, such as June 2010, are distorted in the other direction, looking worse than they should.

But that period is finished. In January, while the public sector lost 14,000 jobs, the private sector added 50,000 jobs. Given revised data for 2010, this is the 11th consecutive month of private-sector growth.

And while that's nice, it's not as nice as more robust job creation -- and this isn't it. The totals for both November and December, however, were revised upwards and appeared at least slightly more encouraging.

All told, the economy added roughly 1.3 million private-sector jobs in 2010. For comparison purposes, note that the economy lost nearly 4.7 million private-sector jobs in 2009, and lost 3.8 million in 2008.

With that in mind, here is a different homemade chart, showing monthly job losses/gains in the private sector since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction -- red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.

privatejobs_jan11.jpg

Note: the new report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics includes recalculated data for every month in calendar year 2010. This chart reflects the revised data.

Update: There was a slight error in this chart as originally published. It's been corrected.

Steve Benen 9:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (5)

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"In December, while the public sector lost 14,000 jobs, the private sector added 50,000 jobs."

December or January?

Posted by: Matt on February 4, 2011 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Any good news, the Republicans claim it was their tax cut. This, though, is all Obama's failure.

Posted by: r on February 4, 2011 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

36,000 jobs is pretty puny and it seems unlikely that it's enough to account for a .4% drop in the unemployment rate. Would the reason for the decline be that people have just stopped looking?

Posted by: CDW on February 4, 2011 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Is it possible to show this chart inclusive of the entirety of the Bush presidency? People will probably point to job growth being weak under Obama, but if I'm not mistaken job growth through all of the 2000's was poor. Just curious.

Posted by: Gary K on February 4, 2011 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK
But that period is finished. In January, while the public sector lost 14,000 jobs, the private sector added 50,000 jobs.

From December to January, the entire economy lost about 1.5 million jobs, and about 1 million more people were unemployed (note that, because of the way employment and unemployment are defined by the BLS for the U3 measure, those changes don't match.)

Changes in seasonally adjusted numbers are not the same as changes in actual jobs.

I suspect that both the November surge in seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and the decline in December and January are a result of holiday shopping and the hiring to handle it being less intense than usual.

If you want to talk about actual month-to-month changes in jobs, you need to stop looking at seasonally adjusted numbers (which are potentially useful as indicators of long-term trends, but don't reflect the actual month-to-month changes) and look at the raw numbers.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 4, 2011 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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