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They report. I edit. You decide

Posted By Russ Roberts On February 6, 2009 @ 10:24 am In Media | Comments Disabled

The January job numbers were released today and weren't very encouraging.I have cleaned up the first part of  the AP story [1]in case you'd like to read it without the opinions and overwrought verbs of the reporter. Words in bold are mine:

Recession-battered employers eliminated 598,000 jobs in January, the
most since the end of 1974, and catapulted increasing the unemployment rate to 7.6
percent. The grim figures were further proof that the nation's job
climate is deteriorating at an alarming clip with no end in sight.

The
Labor Department's report, released Friday, showed the terrible toll
the drawn-out recession is having on workers and companies. It also
puts even more pressure on Congress and President Barack Obama's
administration to try to revive the economy through a stimulus package and a
revamped financial bailout plan, both of which are may be nearing completion.

The
latest net total of job losses was far worse than the 524,000 that
economists expected. Job reductions in November and December also were
deeper than previously reported.

With cost-cutting employers in
no mood to hire, the unemployment rate bolted increased to 7.6 percent in
January, the highest since September 1992. The increase in the jobless
rate from 7.2 percent in December also was worse than the 7.5 percent
rate economists expected though the tenth of a percentage point difference could be treated as negligible.

All told, the economy has lost a
staggering
3.6 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007.
About half of this decline occurred in the past three months.

"Companies
are in survival mode and are really cutting to the bone," said
economist Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics. "They are
cutting and cutting hard now out of fear of an uncertain future."

Factories
slashed cut 207,000 jobs in January, the largest one-month drop since
October 1982, partly reflecting heavy losses at plants making autos and
related parts. Construction companies got rid of 111,000 jobs.
Professional and business services chopped 121,000 positions. Retailers
eliminated 45,000 jobs. Leisure and hospitality axed 28,000 slots.

Those reductions swamped employment gains in education and health services, as well as in the government but I won't bother telling you the size of these increases.

To repeat what was said a few paragraphs earlier in a trivially different way: Just
in the 12 months ending January, an astonishing 3.5 million jobs have
vanished, the most on record going back to 1939, although the total
number of jobs has grown significantly since then which is just a confusing way of saying that as a percentage of the work force, it's nothing close to 1939.

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[1] the AP story : http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/090206/economy.html?.v=14

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