A Look at July Employment Numbers

August 7, 2009 by Emsi Burning Glass

image of Lightcast gradiant

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its July Employment Situation (found here) — and, as noted by Felix Salmon here the employment numbers and unemployment percentages went down. His take:

“My feeling is that it’s far too early to say that unemployment has stopped rising, and that clearly nobody believes employment has stopped falling. We’re moving to a world where a smaller workforce works a shorter workweek, and that bodes ill for any kind of strong sustainable growth unless and until we see a serious and improbable turnaround in the jobs situation.”

Paul Krugman points out the nature of the datasets in question, which are “…subject to a fair bit of noise.”

We peaked under the hood of the unemployment numbers, particularly this table, which breaks out the total number of people unemployed by duration of unemployment.

For those prone to visuals, take a look at this data in a bar chart here.

Notice that it’s the people who have been unemployed from 5 to 14 weeks and 15 to 26 weeks that are in decline while the ranks of the unemployed for more than 27 weeks continues to grow. Those declines were just enough to push the total unemployment figures down below last month’s levels. To see how this stacks up, take a look at this chart.

For more information, contact Mark Beauchamp at mbeauchamp@economicmodeling.com.