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
April 02, 2010
Still a ways to go
The March employment report, as probably should have been predicted, was a mixed bag of pretty good news (fairly strong gains in private payroll jobs and upward revisions for January and February), some not-so-great news (a decline in average hourly earnings, long-term unemployment still on the rise, and an increase in people working part time "involuntarily"), and lots of data that are hard to interpret. In the hard-to-interpret category, I'd put the continuing rise in the temporary employment category (is it a leading indicator of further employment gains, as has been the case historically?), increases in construction employment (just the weather?), and strength in manufacturing employment (a blip in a sector that generally does not provide much job growth, or the early stage of a return to prerecession levels, implying we have about two million manufacturing job gains to go?).
What does seem clear is that the pace of net job creation is still well below the levels required to appreciably improve the unemployment rate or to make a sizable step toward regaining the eight million-plus jobs lost since the beginning of the recession. Updating a calculation referenced in a speech by Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart on Wednesday, at a pace of 162,000 jobs added per month and at the current labor force participation rate, unemployment this time next year would still be just north of 9 percent.
Not great, but at least, to use President Lockhart's phrase, "we are, finally, moving in the right direction."
UPDATE: At Angry Bear, Spencer notes notes that the employment diffusion index, which is a measure of the breadth of job gains, is improving. Jim Hamilton puts the employment report in a class of several other pieces of good economic news. But Dean Baker emphasizes the weak gain in earnings (link courtesy of Mark Thoma). Calculated Risk documents the historical correlation between housing starts and unemployment and highlights the unusually high levels of long-duration unemployment. So does Catherine Rampell, who also puts recent cumulative job performance in historical perspective. David Beckworth breaks down the employment gains by industry (hat tip, Capital Spectator.) Barry Ritholtz offers an array of interesting charts. At Real Time Economics, highlights from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' first public chat session.
By Dave Altig, senior vice president and research director at the Atlanta Fed
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to blogs that reference Still a ways to go :
- 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