My Two Cents

A miserable job market

Chris Farrell Jun 5, 2009

The employment report suports the notion that the 18 month long recession is nearing its end. The 345,000 decline in payroll employment is about half the average monthly decline for the previous 6 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the job market is still abysmal with a 9.4% unemployment rate.

The broadest measure of unemployment (including those marginally attached to the workforce) is at 16.4%–up from 9.8% a year ago. That’s a horrible number.

A couple of other observations: Education and health services added jobs again. These sectors have been creating jobs throughout the recession.

The black teenage unemployment is 39.4% compared to 20.3% for whites. Both are way too high. It’s going to be really hard for teenagers to get jobs this summer.

The unemployment rate for high school dropouts is 15.5%.

At the other end of the spectrum, skilled, educated labor is getting hit hard,too, a worrisome trend for future growth. The unemployment rate of management, professionals and realted occuptions at 4.3% is up sharply from 2.6% a year ago.

The unemployment rate for African-Americans 14.9%, 12.7% for Hispanics and 6.7% for Asian’s 6.7%.

Economist Brad Delong also points our that the employment to population ratio is an ugly 59.7%. That’s down 3 percentage points since the recession began.

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