September 2008 Jobs Report and Wages

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

loss of 159,000 jobs in the month
(revised to a loss of 284,000 in October ’08. Revised again in the November ’08 report to a loss of 403,000 jobs, revised to a final loss of 458,000)

  • Analysts expected a loss of 105,000 (I expect the revision to come closer to this number)
  • ninth straight months of job losses
  • 760,000 jobs lost in 2008
    • 969,000 jobs in the private sector
  • March 2003 was the last time an unemployment number was higher
  • The 159,000 is approximately twice as much as the average for the rest of the year (75,000 jobs lost a month)
  • August 2008 was again revised to a loss of 127,000 (was -84,000 and was -73,000) and July 2008 was revised to a loss of 67,000 jobs (was -51,000). Revised to a final loss of 334,000

Unemployment rate stayed at 6.1% 

  • Forecasters thought it would stay at 6.1%
  • Goldman Sachs thinks the jobless rate will hit 8% by the end of 2009
  • In the last twelve months the unemployment rolls have increased from 2.2 million to 9.5 million
    • The highest since December 1992
  • Underemployment is now at 11%
    • This includes part timers who want full time jobs
    • Highest since April 1994
  • The number of people in the Underemployment category increased by 337,000 people to 6.1 million
    • First time it has topped 6 million since 1993
  • The one third increase from a year ago is the largest increase since 1982

Specific Segment Job numbers:

  • Manufacturing lost 51,000 jobs
    • 442,000 loss for the year
    • 27th consecutive month of declines
  • Construction lost 35,000 jobs
  • Retailers lost 40,000
  • Leisure and hospitality lost 17,000 jobs (they have been bouncing up and down all year)
  • Government sector added 9,000
  • Education and Health Services grew by 25,000 jobs
    • State and local governments cut 18,000 jobs outside of education
  • Mining added 8,000 jobs
  • Financial Services lost 17,000 jobs
    • Lost 172,000 since peaking in December 2006


  • The average weekly paycheck is $610.51 – down $0.81
  • The average hourly work week shrank by 0.1 hour to 33.6
    • 6th straight decline in hours worked
  • The average weekly wages for many Americans has increased by 2.8% over the past 12 months
  • Average hourly salary increased by $0.03
  • Gains were weaker than forecaster predictions


  • Two demographics most impacted were African-Americans (11.4% unemployment) and teenagers (19.1% unemployment)
  • Those unemployed for more than 6 months (still receiving unemployment checks) has reached 21%
    • Up from 17.6% a year ago
  • If you count last year, the economy has lost almost 1,000,000 jobs

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Report Stats Summary

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.

One Response to September 2008 Jobs Report and Wages

  1. Mark says:

    Interesting stats. If you are job hunting, added 3 new sites to their top 10 job site list if anyone is looking for work. (networking) (aggregated listings) (matches you to jobs)good luck to those searching jobs.

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