For the first time this year — or, for the first time in six months, if you prefer a calendar-agnostic reference — employment numbers are down from the reporting month vis-a-vis the preceding month. But for once, this isn’t such terrible news, though the numbers could be stronger, and nobody would mind at all. That’s because while the June 2010 Employment Situation Summary reports that nonfarm payroll employment declined by 125,000 for that month, that number reflects the departure of 225,000 temporary US Census workers and is at least partially offset by a very modest private sector payroll increase of 83,000 jobs in June. Overall, the number of unemployed persons edged down to 14.6 million and the unemployment rate also dipped ever so slightly to 9.5 percent. At the same time, unemployment dipped for women to 7.8 percent, while rates for adult men, teenagers, whites, blacks, and Hispanics remained more or less unchanged.
IT numbers for June were also down across the board, but not by very much. Total losses were only 8,000 jobs for the month, where publishing (except Internet, at -2,000) and telecommunications (-2,300) suffered the biggest losses overall, and wehre other sectors varied losses between 500 (Broadcasting, except Internet) and 1,500 (Data processing, hosting, and related services) jobs overall. See Table B-1 for more details. On a brighter note, numerous other sectors showed modest gains, with Professional and business services at +46,000 jobs, Leisure and hospitality at +37,000 jobs, and even manufacturing showing some slight increase (+9,000 jobs).
What does all this mean? The recovery, such as it is, continues to eke out modest and very slow growth. Given the recent tumbles on stock and other financial markets (major indices are down as much as 10% for the current week, as I write this blog), it will be interesting to see what the July numbers will have to tell us. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see essentially flat results, or even another slight dip in employment across all market sectors. We’ll see!