Friday, April 4, 2008

Payroll Report, Well, Stinks

From the BLS:

The unemployment rate rose from 4.8 to 5.1 percent in March, and nonfarm payroll employment continued to trend down (-80,000), the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Over the past 3 months, payroll employment has declined by 232,000. In March, employment continued to fall in construction, manufacturing, and employment services, while health care, food services, and mining added jobs. Average hourly earnings rose by 5 cents, or 0.3 percent, over the month.

The number of unemployed persons increased by 434,000 to 7.8 million in March, and the unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage point to 5.1 percent. Since March 2007, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 1.1 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 0.7 percentage point.(See table A-1.)

In March, the number of persons unemployed because they lost jobs increased by 300,000 to 4.2 million. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed job losers has increased by 914,000.

There is no way to spin these numbers as anything but horrible.

Also -- get ready to hear a lot of "job losses aren't that big so we're not in a recession" talk (Remember -- we live in the age of spin and faith-based policies rather than fact). To this statement, note that job creation for the last expansion was the weakest of any recovery since WWII. Weak job creation = far fewer job losses on the flip side.

The WSJ's Marketbeat Blog had the best take:

For another month, the data was worse than expected, and the previous months were revised lower, and futures markets are quickly adjusting from previous lofty levels. This is the worst jobs figure since March of 2003, and stock futures have backed off a bit, although those markets were already pulling back prior to the release.

Nonfarm payrolls fell by 80,000 in March, and January and February figures were revised lower as well. Both months were revised to a loss of 76,000 jobs, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate rose to 5.1% from 4.8% in February.