December 2008 Jobs Report and Wages

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

loss of 524,000 jobs in the month
(revised on 3/6/09 to a loss of 681,000 jobs, revised to a final loss of 673,000))

  • 1.9 Million jobs lost over the last four months
  • Most jobs lost in a year since 1945
    • The population of the US was much smaller in 1945 so the percentage is actually much lower now
  • Analysts expected a loss of 525,000
  • Twelve straight months of job losses
    • 2.6 million jobs lost in 2008
  • November was revised to loss of 584,000 jobs (revised to a final loss of 728,000)
  • October revised to a loss of 423,000 jobs (revised to a final loss of 554,000)
  • Since the recession started in December of ’07 the economy has lost 2.5 million jobs. The most since 2.7 were lost in 1981-1982

Unemployment rate rose to 7.2%

  • Underemployment is now at 13.5%
    • From 12.6% last month (an increase of 0.9% in one month!)
    • This includes part timers who want full time jobs

Specific Segment Job numbers:

  • Manufacturing lost 149,000 jobs
  • Construction lost 101,000 jobs
    • Construction unemployment is 15.3%, highest of any group
    • Infrastructure projects would help with this situation as proposed by President-Elect Obama
  • Retailers lost 66,600
  • Professional and Business Services loss 113,000 jobs
    • This includes 14,000 for the financial services industry
  • Government sector added 7,000
  • Education and Health Services grew by 45,000 jobs
  • Mining lost 1,000 jobs (had been growing all year)
  • Leisure and Hospitality loss 22,000 jobs


  • The average weekly paycheck is $611.05
    • A drop of $2
  • The average hourly work week shrank to 33.3
    • Lowest it has ever been recorded


  • This is in line with my predictions. The next two months are vital. If they come in at say 250,000 for January and 175,000 for February then 2009 will not be a lost year. If they don’t decline from the 500,000 range then this will get real bad.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Report Stats Summary
Graphics of the Job Market – December 6th, 2008


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