Payrolls Better Than Expected (-216,000), Unemployment Worse (9.7%)

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Update: The number is out. Unemployment rate is 9.7%, worse than 9.5% consensus.  The more important number, payrolls, dropped 216,000 (better than the -230,000 estimate). Futures are still up (barely) though have pulled back early gains.

Revisions for June and July were negative.  The trend remains the same (improving), but the numbers are worse than they first appeared.

BLS release below and here >


                THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- AUGUST 2009<br /><br /><br />Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline in August (-216,000),<br />and the unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor<br />Statistics reported today. Although job losses continued in many of the<br />major industry sectors in August, the declines have moderated in recent<br />months.<br /><br />Household Survey Data<br /><br />In August, t<strong>he number of unemployed persons increased by 466,000 to 14.9<br />million, and the unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage point to 9.7<br />percent.</strong> The rate had been little changed in June and July, after in-<br />creasing 0.4 or 0.5 percentage point in each month from December 2008<br />through May. <strong>Since the recession began in December 2007, the number of<br />unemployed persons has risen by 7.4 million, and the unemployment rate<br />has grown by 4.8 percentage points.</strong> (See table A-1.)<br /><br />Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men<br />(10.1 percent), whites (8.9 percent), and Hispanics (13.0 percent) rose<br />in August. The jobless rates for adult women (7.6 percent), teenagers<br />(25.5 percent), and blacks (15.1 percent) were little changed over the<br />month. The unemployment rate for Asians was 7.5 percent, not seasonally<br />adjusted. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)<br /><br /><strong>The civilian labor force participation rate remained at 65.5 percent in<br />August.</strong> <strong>The employment-population ratio, at 59.2 percent, edged down<br />over the month</strong> and has declined by 3.5 percentage points since the re-<br />cession began in December 2007. (See table A-1.)<br /><br /><strong>In August, the number of persons working part time for economic reasons<br />was little changed at 9.1 million.</strong> These individuals indicated that they<br />were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because <br />they were unable to find a full-time job. The number of such workers<br />rose sharply in the fall and winter but has been little changed since<br />March. (See table A-5.)<br /><br />About 2.3 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force<br />in August, reflecting an increase of 630,000 from a year earlier. (The<br />data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the<br />labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a<br />job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed<br />because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the sur-<br />vey. (See table A-13.)<br /><br />Among the marginally attached, the number of discouraged workers in<br />August (758,000) has nearly doubled over the past 12 months. (The data<br />are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not cur-<br />rently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for<br />them. The other 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor<br />force in August had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the<br />survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.<br /><br />Establishment Survey Data<br /><br /><strong>Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 216,000 in August. </strong>Since<br />December 2007, employment has fallen by 6.9 million. In recent months,<br />job losses have moderated in many major industry sectors. (See table<br />B-1.)<br /><br /><strong>In August, construction employment declined by 65,000, in line with<br />the trend since May.</strong> Monthly losses had averaged 117,000 over the 6<br />months ending in April. Employment in the construction industry has<br />contracted by 1.4 million since the onset of the recession. Starting<br />in early 2009, the larger share of monthly job losses shifted from the<br />residential to the nonresidential and heavy construction components.<br />In mining, employment declined by 9,000 over the month.<br /><br />In August, <strong>manufacturing employment continued to trend downward, with<br />a decline of 63,000.</strong> The pace of job loss has slowed throughout manu-<br />facturing in recent months. <strong>Motor vehicles and parts lost 15,000 jobs<br />in August</strong>, partly offsetting a 31,000 employment increase in July.<br /><br /><strong>Financial activities shed 28,000 jobs in August</strong>, with declines spread<br />throughout the industry. Job loss in financial activities has slowed<br />since the beginning of the year. Employment in the industry has de-<br />clined by 537,000 since the start of the recession.<br /><br />Wholesale trade employment fell by 17,000 in August. Employment in<br />information continued to trend down over the month.<br /><br /><strong>Employment in the retail trade industry was little changed in August.<br />Employment also was little changed in professional and business ser-<br />vices over the month.</strong> From May through August, monthly employment<br />declines in the sector averaged 46,000, compared with 138,000 per<br />month from November through April. Job loss in its temporary help<br />services component has slowed markedly over the last 4 months.<br /><br />Employment was little changed in August both in transportation and<br />warehousing, and in leisure and hospitality.<br /><br /><strong>Employment in health care continued to rise in August (28,000), w</strong>ith<br />gains in ambulatory care and in nursing and residential care. Employ-<br />ment in hospitals was little changed in August; job growth in the<br />industry slowed in early 2009 and employment has been flat since May. <br />Health care has added 544,000 jobs since the start of the recession.<br /><br />In August,<strong> the average workweek for production and nonsupervisory<br />workers on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.1 hours.</strong><br />The manufacturing workweek and factory overtime also showed no <br />change over the month (at 39.8 hours and 2.9 hours, respectively).<br />(See table B-2.)<br /><br />In August, <strong>average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory<br />workers on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents</strong>, or 0.3 percent,<br />to $18.65. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen<br />by 2.6 percent, while <strong>average weekly earnings have risen by only 0.8<br />percent due to declines in the average workweek. </strong>(See table B-3.)<br /><br /><strong>The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised<br />from -443,000 to -463,000, and the change for July was revised from<br />-247,000 to -276,000.</strong><br />




Original post: The August employment report is out at 8:30am ET.  Here’s the consensus:

  • Non-farm Payrolls: -230,000, versus -241,000 in July
  • Unemployment Rate: 9.5% from 9.4%

The weekly initial jobless claims have not been encouraging.  They’re off the peak levels of the spring, but still over 550,000 a week.

Here’s Bloomberg’s preview:

Economists’ payroll forecasts ranged from declines of 100,000 to 365,000. Job losses peaked at 741,000 in January, the most since 1949.

The August projection would bring total jobs lost since the recession began in December 2007 to 6.9 million, the biggest decline in any post-World War II economic slump.

Read the whole thing >

Here’s a quick snapshot of the employment picture in charts, updated through July >

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