May 2008 Jobs Report and Wages

Here are the job market and compensation numbers for April 2008 (based on the job report):

Net loss of 49,000 jobs in the month (revised to loss of 62,000 jobs)

  • April modified to a loss of 28,000 jobs (was estimated as a loss of 20,000)
  • Analysts expected a loss of of either 58,000 or 60,000
  • Five straight months of job losses
  • For 2008, 324,000 jobs have been cut, an average of 65,000 a month
  • The private sector has cut 411,000 jobs over 6 months (68,500 average)
  • The number of people in the workforce increased by 577,000
    • It was 173,000 in April
    • College students

Unemployment rate rocketed up to 5.5% 

  • Biggest monthly jump in 22 years
  • It is the highest its been in 3 1/2 years
  • Forecasters thought the rise would be to 5.1%
  • Some analysts believe this number will be revised down because of the flood of college students entering the workforce
    • Taking presumptive teenagers out of the mix the unemployment still rises from 4.5% to 4.8%
    • This number was 4.0% a year ago
  • Long term unemployed increased from 17.8% to 18.3% in May
  • Paul Ashworth said. “The economy has little forward momentum, employment is shrinking and the unemployment rate could reach 6 percent by the end of the year.”

Specific Segment Job numbers:

  • Construction lost 34,000 jobs
  • Retail lost 27,000
  • Professional and Business Services lost 39,000
  • Manufacturing lost 26,000 jobs (46,000 jobs lost in April – good sign?)
  • Healthcare added 34,000
  • Education and Health Services added 54,000 jobs
  • Temp workers loss 30,000 jobs
    • 150,000 lost over the year
    • Considered a bellwether for the economy because these jobs go first
  • Public sector added 17,000 jobs


  • The surge of college students created a lot of distortion on the unemployment percentage. This can be revised next month or maybe evened out in September (although no vacuum was mentioned this past September)
  • The birth/death model is fluctuating to a negative
  • Spending on fuel as a share of wage income rose above 6%. That exceeds the percentage seen during the 1974-75 and 1990-91 oil-price shocks and approaches the 7% to 8% seen during the 1980-81 price surge


  • Paul Ashworth, senior US. economist with London-based Capital Economics, noted that the pace at which jobs were being lost has actually slowed
    • In the first three months this year, job losses averaged about 83,000 monthly, but in April and May, the pace slowed to 38,500
  • Although employers have cut jobs for five consecutive months, the number of job losses has so far been mild by the standards of previous recessions
    • At the start of the 2001 recession, companies shed around 110,000 jobs each month and almost 130,000 when the 1990 recession began

Job Report Stats Page

About benleeson
My name is Ben Leeson. I currently work for a large financial company in IT. I went to school at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. I graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration concentrating in HR. Professor William Brown taught me and I enjoyed his classes; even acquiring an appreciation for just about all things HR. I didn’t pursue a job in that field after college but I’ve kept up with it. This blog will further my fascination with all things HR. I hope to grow my knowledge of the area through thoughtful writings and spirited feedback. I will attempt to have a fairly routine style so anyone reading can come to expect certain segments. Please excuse my incorrect grammar and occasional misspelling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: