Nonfarm payroll employment declined sharply in December, and the unemployment rate rose from 6.8 to 7.2 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Payroll employment fell by 524,000 over the month and by 1.9 million over the last 4 months of 2008. In December, job losses were large and widespread across most major industry sectors.
In December, the number of unemployed persons increased by 632,000 to 11.1 million and the unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has grown by 3.6 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 2.3 percentage points. (See table A-1.)
About 1.9 million persons (not seasonally adjusted) were marginally attached to the
labor force in December, 564,000 more than 12 months earlier. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Among the marginally attached, there were 642,000 discouraged workers in December, up by 279,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work specifically because they believe no jobs are available for them. The other 1.3 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in December had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-13.)
There is no good news in this report; it is uniformly bad across all sectors and areas.
In addition, consider this executive summary from a new BLS report:
Another important indicator of labor market difficulty, the number of persons working part time for economic reasons, has suggested a softening in the demand for labor since about mid-2006. Sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers and viewed as underemployed, these individuals wanted full-time jobs but worked less than 35 hours during the survey reference week primarily due to slack work (a reduction in hours in response to unfavorable business conditions) or the inability to find full-time work. In November 2008, 7.3 million persons were employed part time for economic reasons, up by 3.4 million from a recent low of 3.9 million in April 2006.
And in one of the greatest ironies of all, the BLS added 72,000 jobs to this report thanks to the birth death model.