October 2008 Jobs Report and Wages

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

loss of 240,000 jobs in the month
(revised to a loss of 320,000 in the November ’08 report and revised to a loss of 423,000 in the December ’08 report revised to a final loss of 554,000)

  • Analysts expected a loss of 200,000
  • tenth straight months of job losses
  • 1,200,000 jobs lost in 2008
    • Half of that number is in the last three months
    • 3.3 million workers have been added to the jobless rolls over the last 18 months
  • September was revised to loss of 284,000 jobs (revised again in the November ’08 report to a loss of 403,000 jobs, revised to a final loss of 458,000)
    • Highest since November 2001
  • August revised to a loss of 127,000 jobs
  • Over the last 12 months the number of persons unemployed has risen by 2.8 million and sits at 10.1 million

Unemployment rate rose to 6.5% 

  • Forecasters thought it would rise to 6.3%
  • The unemployment rate hasn’t been this high since 1994
  • Over the last 12 months the rate has increased by 1.7%
  • Underemployment is now at 11.8%
    • This includes part timers who want full time jobs
  • The number of people in the Underemployment category increased by 645,000 people to 6.7 million
    • A third of the 6.7 million joined over the last year (2.3 million)
    • Highest since July 1993
  • The long term unemployed (those without a job for 27 weeks or more) increased by 249,000 and totals 2.3 million people
  • Of those unemployed, the long term unemployed comprises 22.3% of that group – so over a fifth of those unemployed are without a job for more than half a year
  • Another grouping that is unfortunately growing is the marginally attached to the labor force group. These are people not counted in the survey. These are 1.6 million persons who haven’t looked for work in the last four weeks but need a job.

Specific Segment Job numbers:

  • Manufacturing lost 90,000 jobs
    • 27,000 of the 90,000 are due to the aerospace strike and are expected to return to work eventually
    • Without the strike the losses are in line with the last two months
    • The manufacturing and auto industries are in the worst shape in 30 years
  • Construction lost 49,000 jobs
    • Since peaking in 2006, construction has lost 663,000 jobs
    • Infrastructure projects would help with this situation
  • Retailers lost 38,000
    • Consumer spending in the third quarter saw a decrease for the first time in 17 years
  • Professional and Business Services loss 51,000 jobs
    • These losses are increasing in size compared to 2007
  • Government sector added 23,000
    • Largely based in the local governments
  • Education and Health Services grew by 26,000 jobs
    • 348,000 jobs added over the last 12 months
  • Mining added 7,000 jobs
  • Financial Services lost 24,000 jobs
    • Lost 200,000 since peaking in December 2006


  • The average weekly paycheck is $611.86
  • The average hour earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers is $18.21
  • The average hourly work week stayed the same – 33.6
  • The average weekly wages for many Americans has increased by 2.9% over the past 12 months
  • September’s annualized inflation was 4.9%
    • Pay is lagging prices and is expected to continue to
  • Wage growth for September and October was much slower than earlier in the year, indicating a deteriorating economy


  • The share of adults who are working is 61.8%. This is the lowest number in 15 years
  • The economy is expected to get worse and an unemployment rate of at least 8% is expected in mid 2009
  • 8% unemployment was last seen in the early 80s
  • GDP is expected to be stalled out until early 2010

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Report Stats Summary


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