Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

The December Employment Situation Report, or Jobs Report, was released at 8:30 A.M. EST on Friday January 5th. The report was largely ignored by 7:00 that night, and all but forgotten within the first 24 hours after its release. Where other news sources were reporting on the report, this website was reporting on the data. The jobs report was not as good as expected, or as strong as the ADP jobs report indicated it might be, it was most certainly better than it was reported.

There has been an incomplete recovery. There are sectors that have fewer workers now than were present during December of 2007. There are fewer workers in some in two sectors than were working during December of 2009 as we were approaching the worst of the recession. We saw improvement in some sectors during this December that we normally do not see during December. We have seen expansion over last December in all but one sector.


There are fewer workers in Five Sectors this December than During December of 2007. July 2007 was the peak Current Population Survey (CPS) Jobs month prior to the Great Recession. The Great Recession was actually three recessions in one: a housing recession that began during during 2005, a jobs recession that began during 2007, and a Retail Recession. The graph visual display how there are fewer workers in the Mining/Logging Sector, the Construction Sector, the Manufacturing Sector, the IT Sector and the Government Sector. The data for December can be found here. Two sectors have not returned to December of 2009 levels of worker: IT and Government.


We saw better than usual month to month growth. Normally we see contraction in workers at the end of the year and into January's job reporting period. This year we saw growth in four sectors month to month: Manufacturing, IT, Trade/Transportation/Utilities, and Financial Activities. We have "always seen" December expansion in TTU and Financial activities (going back to 1981.) We almost always have seen growth in IT workers during December. The December growth in Manufacturing jobs is something new since this most recent recession.


We have only one sector that did not add workers this past year. Even with strong growth in the IT sector this month, there are fewer people in IT this December than Last December. This is a persistent and consistent trend in the IT sector. The data indicates that Mining/Logging and Construction were the two sectors with the largest annual growth rate, December to December.


Four sectors account for almost all the worker growth since 2007. We have seen the largest increases in Professional and Business Services, Education and Health Services, TTU, and Leisure and Hospitality. Information technology is the laggard. The reporting on the report is only as good as the report itself. The data paints a different picture.


It's the economy.