NFP Falls 663k


Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline sharply in March (-663,000), and the unemployment rate rose from 8.1 to 8.5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Since the recession began in December 2007, 5.1 million jobs have been lost, with almost two-thirds (3.3 million) of the decrease occurring in the last 5 months. In March, job losses were large and widespread across the major industry sectors.

Unemployment (Household Survey Data) In March, the number of unemployed persons increased by 694,000 to 13.2 million, and the unemployment rate rose to 8.5 percent. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has grown by about 5.3 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 3.4 percentage points. Half of the increase in both the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate occurred in the last 4 months.

Ouch. That is, as expected, an ugly number. Let’s look under the hood to see exactly how nasty it was

• The January data was revised to minus 741k. This was the worst since 1949 (but the population was much smaller then). Let’s put this into a broader context in oercentage terms. Marketwatch’s Rex Nutting notes that over “the past six months, 3.7 million jobs have been lost, or 2.7%, the second-largest percentage loss in 50 years.” Yes, its been that ugly.

• Total hours worked fell by 1%. Often times, employers who are trying to hold onto their best employees will get overtime and hours in order to avoid layoffs. As of this month, the average workweek fell to 33.2 hours, the lowest on record dating back to 1964.

• Every major category except education and health shed jobs.

> nfp-march-09.gif

courtesy if Barron’s Econoday

> Sources: Employment Situation

Originally published at The Big Picture blog and reproduced here with the author’s permission.