Friday, February 06, 2009

Unemployent Goes to 7.6%; 2008 Payrolls Revised Down

This morning's employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows a drop in payroll employment of almost 600,000 and the unemployment rate jumping to 7.6%.

Surprise, surprise, the BLS revised their estimates of payroll jobs in 2008 by about 350,000! The BLS's method for truing up the jobs data can not help but fail during recessions. Accuracy when the economy is in trouble does not appear to be high on its priority list. The latest revisions do not appear to have changed the timing of the recession as recorded in the data. The unemployment rate hit bottom in the spring, 2007 and payrolls peaked in November/December, 2007. When we can lay our hands on more details than are available in the press release, we can be more precise.

Closer to home, aerospace employment fell some 9,000 in January. This does not necessarily reflect the flood of layoffs announced in general aviation this past week (Cessna, Hawker-Beechcraft, and Bombardier.)

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