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


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