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.

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