The Atlanta Fed's macroblog provides commentary and analysis on economic topics including monetary policy, macroeconomic developments, inflation, labor economics, and financial issues.
- BLS Handbook of Methods
- Bureau of Economic Analysis
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Congressional Budget Office
- Economic Data - FRED® II, St. Louis Fed
- Office of Management and Budget
- Statistics: Releases and Historical Data, Board of Governors
- U.S. Census Bureau Economic Programs
- White House Economic Statistics Briefing Room
December 11, 2009
Better news on the jobs front: Layoffs down, temp hiring up
November's employment report released last week provided significantly better-than-expected numbers on the jobs front. Payroll counts declined by 11,000 last month—the smallest decline in two years—and job losses in September and October were revised down a considerable 160,000. The declining number of job cuts is showing up in some other data, too.
First-time claims for unemployment insurance have shown a clear downward trend since last spring (though there was an unexpected increase during the first week of December). Claims have fallen by 200,000 since peaking in March, dipping by roughly 25,000 in the weeks following the payroll survey alone.
While the trend is better, fewer layoffs do not necessarily translate to job creation. On average, the jobless had remained unemployed for a record 28.5 weeks in November. Tuesday's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) reported another record low hiring rate in October and a continued decline in the number of job openings.
However, even in today's weak labor market there are signs that some hiring is going on, even if it is temporary. The American Staffing Association's (ASA) staffing index has temporary hiring trending up since July 2009. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics payroll survey showed the temporary help sector started posting gains a month later, adding a net 117,000 jobs in the four months through November.
In the coming weeks, the ASA index will shed more light on the evolution of temp demand ahead of the December payroll report. Temporary employment is typically regarded as a leading labor market indicator—the intuition being that firms tend to hire temps or increase the hours of current employees before committing to permanent workers. The combination of fewer layoffs and more hiring provides some welcome news—but within the context of two years of job losses.
By Laurel Graefe and Menbere Shiferaw, both Atlanta Fed senior economic research analysts
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to blogs that reference Better news on the jobs front: Layoffs down, temp hiring up :
- How Ill a Wind? Hurricanes' Impacts on Employment and Earnings
- When Health Insurance and Its Financial Cushion Disappear
- What Is the "Right" Policy Rate?
- Is Poor Health Hindering Economic Growth?
- Behind the Increase in Prime-Age Labor Force Participation
- An Update on Labor Force Participation
- Another Look at the Wage Growth Tracker's Cyclicality
- GDPNow's Second Quarter Forecast: Is It Too High?
- Are Small Loans Hard to Find? Evidence from the Federal Reserve Banks' Small Business Survey
- Slide into the Economic Driver's Seat with the Labor Market Sliders
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- Business Cycles
- Business Inflation Expectations
- Capital and Investment
- Capital Markets
- Data Releases
- Economic conditions
- Economic Growth and Development
- Exchange Rates and the Dollar
- Fed Funds Futures
- Federal Debt and Deficits
- Federal Reserve and Monetary Policy
- Financial System
- Fiscal Policy
- Health Care
- Inflation Expectations
- Interest Rates
- Labor Markets
- Latin America/South America
- Monetary Policy
- Money Markets
- Real Estate
- Saving, Capital, and Investment
- Small Business
- Social Security
- This, That, and the Other
- Trade Deficit
- Wage Growth