NPR logo Four Ways Of Looking At The New Job Loss Numbers


Four Ways Of Looking At The New Job Loss Numbers

Several of you have asked whether today's report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is good news or bad news.

First, the good news, such as it is: The jobless rate for June ticked up by just .1 percent, to 9.5. The last report, for May, showed a jump of .5 percent.

You can also consider the overall number of jobs lost last month.

Economists had expected to see 365,000 jobs cut. Instead, employers canned 467,000 people. That's a gulp.

Personally, I'm struck by how long people are remaining out of work — a figure that has steadily increased with the recession. We're up to an average of 24.5 weeks for the average job search, two weeks longer in than last month's report. "[B]road job losses are effectively making unemployment a way of life for millions," the New York Times reports. That's pure misery on a Saltine cracker.

You could also look at what's happening to wages, which are flat, flat, flat. Ian Shepherdson of High-Frequency Economics writes, "[O]minously, hourly earnings were unchanged for the second time in three months." He predicts, "Wages will soon be
falling outright, a classic deflation signal."