2009-02-07

Unemployment 7.6%

Direct download here (pdf 194.9kb).

Notes:
  • Highest rate of unemployment since September 1992, which was also 7.6%.
  • The last unemployment peak was 7.8% in June 1992.
  • The last time unemployment reached 8.0% was January 1984.
  • The postwar unemployment peak was 10.8% in November and December 1982.
  • Unemployment has increased from 4.9% in January 2008 to 7.6% in January 2009. That's a 250 basis point year-on-year increase. The last time that happened was between October 1981 and October 1982, when unemployment increased from 7.9% to 10.4% - 250 basis points. It should be noted that such a movement in the unemployment rate over a 12 month period is more damaging if the original level was low. This means that the current increase is more damaging than the 1981-82 increase. Source.
  • A 390 basis point increase occurred between May 1974 (5.1%) and May 1975 (9.0%).
  • Reuters says that the 598,000 increase is the worst in 34 years (1975).

2 comments:

JD Walters said...

There's also the problem that these people being laid off are finding it increasingly difficult to get another job:

http://money.cnn.com/2009/02/05/news/economy/jobs_outlook/index.htm?postversion=2009020608

I feel so bad for them. Most of these people have worked at their jobs for many years.

BLBeamer said...

I have been on both the hiring and firing end of this cycle as an employer. Two years ago, I was trying to fill three positions. Six of eight candidates rejected my offer because I refused to meet their ridiculously high salary counter offers.

Now that the labor market is in surplus, how many of them would accept my offer at a lower salary than I originally offered?

I am not confident that Pres. Obama, the Congress and the media are able or willing to accept the fact that when a market is in surplus, prices must go down to clear it.

If Congress were to ease payroll taxes and other barriers like too high minimum wage laws, it would help a great deal to put more folks back to work, particularly those with the fewest options.