When the Bureau of Labor Statistics pushed out their August Employment Situation Summary on Friday morning, it looked like deja vu all over again. Overall, numbers were down by 131,000 for July but that reflects a loss of 143,00 temporary workers hired for the US Census, and was offset by another very modest gain of 71,000 jobs in the private sector. Both the gross total unemployment number (14.6 million) and the unemployment rate (9.5 percent) were unchanged from June.
Looking at the information sector, we do finally see some teeny-tiny signs of improvement vis-a-vis July 2009. The number of unemployed persons in information jobs edged down from 373,000 (2009) to 344,000 (2010), and the unemployment rate likewise dipped from 11.5 percent (2009) to 10.6 percent (2010) (see Table A-14 for details). In the Information sector breakdown, all of the sub-sectors except “Telecommunications” (-5,800 jobs) and “Motion picture and sound recording industries” (-300 jobs) showed small gains (ranging from 300 jobs for “Data processing, hosting, and related services” to 3,800 jobs for “Broadcasting, except Internet”; see Table B-1 for details).
No wonder markets dipped a little, but not badly at the Friday, August 6, close. It’s almost become a “no bad news is no news at all” situation, given that there’s little to cheer about on the employment horizon, now and for the foreseeable future. All I can say is “Hang in there!”