Friday, February 6, 2009

January Employment Continues the Descent

We're probably going to get another six or eight months of reports like the two that came out this week.

On the employment front, every indicator continued to move in the wrong direction - employment, unemployment, workforce, and hours.

The peak for raw employment claims was back in the first week of January, but the adjusted and smoothed count continued to worsen. Ratios are still moving higher, though they will probably not reach the levels of the early 1980s because there aren't as many large manufacturing facilities in this country as there once were, meaning no mass firings of 5,000 workers at a time. Most of today's layoff announcements indicate that the cuts will take several months to complete.

Here are the key ratios for the same time period as the previous two graphs cover. The red line shows the most important ratio.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

January Auto Sales Resume Freefall

Looks like the parachute was vastly undersized. Both the absolute and adjusted numbers showed downward acceleration. The results for the three largest Japanese companies were off by ~28%. GM, F, and the company formerly listed as C saw declines of 49%, 41% and 55%. I don't see how C can survive on those numbers.

Not much to say other than "cliff-diving".

Both Hyundai-Kia and Subaru had modest increases, which in this environment is like doubling sales. For individual brands, Chrysler saw the worst, with a staggering 69% decrease from January of 2008. Since January of 2006 Chrysler sales have fallen by 78%, beating Pontiac by a few points for the worst performance among active brands.