Friday, August 07, 2009

Employment report shows shallowing of the gloom

The was no hint of any outright sunshine in the monthly employment report for July that came out this morning, but the gloom was in fact a bit less gloomy. The decline in payroll employment was the smallest since a year ago. The unemployment rate actually did get slightly better.

The U-6 unemployment indicator actually improved with a decline from 16.5% to 16.3%, lower than both June and May. U-6 includes workers who wanted full-time work but could only find part-time work. Technically it is: "total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers." The report says:

Marginally attached workers are persons who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the recent past. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not looking currently for a job. Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule.

Temporary help continued to decline, suggesting that gains in employment are still not quite imminent.

This report will offer little solace to lose who are unemployed or maybe even on the verge of losing their jobs in the coming months, but it is in fact a green shoot showing that the economy is beginning to recover.

-- Jack Krupansky

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