The markets and their followers have been abuzz with anticipation of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary for July 2009, which just hit the Web and the newswires at 8:30 AM EDT this morning. Although analysts had anticipated a climb in the unemployment rate from 9.4 to as high as 9.7 percent, the lead paragraph includes the following very cheery items, which I expect should buoy those markets substantially today:
- “the unemployment rate was little changed at 9.4 percent”
- “the average monthly job loss for May through July (-331,000) was about half the average decline for November through April (-645,000)”
- “nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline in July (-247,000)”
The last item actually appears first in the original source, but I list it last so I can remark that this is the lowest monthly job loss in quite some time. The ongoing trend that things are not as bad as they were before is continuing, though we’re still losing rather than gaining jobs.
Not all the items in this report are necessarily cheery, however. Here are some that might give pause to the inevitable thoughts about recovery, and let us know how far we have to go to regain equilibrium and move beyond into true economic and job growth:
- “the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) rose by 584,000 over the month to 5.0 million”
- “in July, 1 in 3 unemployed persons were jobless for 27 weeks or more”
- Table A-11 indicates that unemployment in the “information” industry stands at 11.5 percent (as compared to 4.1 percent in July 2008), and in the “professional and business services” industry stands at 10.9 percent (as compared to 6.1 percent in July 2008) Table B-4 indicates that average hourly earnings in Information declined by 0.5 percent, and increased in Professional and Business Sevices by 0.2 percent.
What does all this mean? With a total of 15 million Americans still unemployed, things remain tough all over, particularly in IT, where things are somewhat worse than they are overall. It’s still time to sit tight, stay put, and keep an eye out for trouble heading your way. Hopefully all the talk about and longing for recovery will translate into tangible signs of same soon.