Free Markets, Free People
Economic Statistics for 3 Feb 12
Today’s economic statistical releases:
Factory orders rose a very healthy 1.1% in December. November’s orders were also upwardly revised to a 2.2% jump.
A very strong ISM non-manufacturing report showed the index jump to 56.8—well above expectations—based on a huge jump in employment and new orders.
The Monster employment index fell to 133 in January from 140 in December.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 243,000 new net jobs were created last month, while the unemployment rate fell to 8.2%. Average hourly earnings increased 0.2%, and the average workweek rose to 34.5 hours. The new jobs came entirely from private payrolls, with private jobs increasing by 257,000. All is not quite as rosy as the headline numbers indicate, however:
- Another 132,000 people left the labor force, as the labor force declined from 153,617,000 to 153,485,000.
- The labor force participation rate declined to 63.4, the lowest since February, 1984.
- The number of Americans who consider themselves employed rose to 139,944,000 from 139,869,000 last month, an increase of only 75,000. Meanwhile, the working age population rose from 239,618,00 to 424.269,000, an increase of 2,651,000.
So, some things to keep in mind might be a comparison of the peak of the last cycle’s employment, in November of 2007 to today. In making that comparison, some things become much clearer:
- In November, 2007, 63.15% of Americans had a job. In Feburary, 2012, it was 57.76%.
- In November, 2007, there were 147,118,000 Americans working. This month, that number was 139,944,000. That’s 7.1 million jobs that have disappeared.
- If the labor force participation rate was the same today as it was in November 2007 (66.1%), today’s unemployment rate would be 12.61%.