Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jobless Recoveries Compared, Part II

Let's continue our look at the performance of various employment numbers from the last three "jobless recoveries." For more background, here is a link to the first installment.

The above chart shows total nonfarm payrolls, with the numbers adjusted to a base of 100 so we can compare the three recoveries. First, notice that by 20 months into the recovery of the 1990s, the establishment job market had turned around. However, the recovery in the 2000s had not really started -- in fact, the job market had gotten worse. In contrast, the current recovery has more or less been hovering around "no change" compared to the last two recoveries.

Let's break the numbers down into total private industries and government employees. In the 1990s recovery, total private jobs had rebounded strongly by this time. However, the recovery of the 2000s showed a decrease. In the current recovery, we're essentially back at square one, after printing a drop then an increase.

In the recovery of the early 1990s and 2000s, total government employees had pick-up by this time. However, in the current recovery, total government employees spiked higher because of the census, but then dropped lower. Part of the drop is the result of the census hiring then firing people. But there has been the added problem of the states laying people off due to state budget situation.

So, with the data we have the following points so far.

1.) The early 1990s recovery was actually on track by 20 months into the recovery. Both private sector and government job growth had pick-up.

2.) The early 2000s recovery was pretty slow, with the bulk of the jobs 200 months in coming from government growth, not private sector growth.

3.) The current recovery has been hit by poor growth in the private sector and job losses in the government sector -- in other words, both areas of job growth have been hit.