July & August jobs update

October 17, 2006

Nationwide

Here are the latest numbers, with revisions, since April:

Month Change Employment Unemployment Rate
Apr. +112,000 135,017,000 4.7%
May +100,000 135,117,000 4.6%
June +134,000 135,251,000 4.6%
July +123,000 135,374,000 4.8%
Aug. +188,000 135,562,000 4.7%
Sept. +51,000 135,613,000 4.6%

April was revised downward from +126,000 to +112,000. May was revised upward from +75,000 to +100,000. June was revised upward from +124,000 to +134,000. July was revised upward from +113,000 to +123,000.

Job growth has been moderate this year. September’s job performance looks low, but given past history it’s likely to be revised up later. And there have been months in the last couple years where job growth has been this low, but it’s picked back up again the next month.

Colorado

Here are the latest numbers, with revisions, since April:

Month Change Employment Unemployment Rate
Apr. -1,100 2,263,100 4.3%
May +1,400 2,264,500 4.5%
June +5,100 2,269,600 4.5%
July +7,200 2,276,800 4.7%
Aug. +5,800 2,282,600 4.8%

April was revised down quite a bit, from +500, as reported earlier, to -1,100. May went unchanged. June was revised up quite a bit from +1,300 to +5,100.

Colorado has gained 33,000 jobs above and beyond the benchmark set in Dec., 2000.

Denver Metro Area

Here are the latest numbers, with revisions, since April:

Month Change Employment Unemployment Rate
Apr. +9,900 1,205,100 4.4%
May +10,500 1,215,600 4.4%
June +11,700 1,227,300 4.9%
July -7,000 1,220,300 4.8%
Aug. +1,600 1,221,900 4.8%

April was revised downward from +10,100 to +9,900. May remained unchanged. June was revised down from +14,500 to +11,700. 

Growth was going very well from April through June. The increases in employment went up to what used to be about average for the area.

Denver is down 17,800 jobs from its benchmark set in Dec., 2000.

Boulder County

Here are the latest numbers, with revisions, since April:

Month Change Employment Unemployment Rate
Apr. +500 162,700 3.6%
May +1,000 163,700 3.7%
June -500 163,200 4.2%
July -2,600 160,600 4.1%
Aug. -600 160,000 4.1%

April was revised downward form +600 to +500. May remained unchanged. June was revised upward from -1,000 to -500 jobs.

Boulder County took quite a fall in July, and August didn’t help, yet our unemployment rate actually decreased.

Boulder County is down 11,500 jobs from its benchmark set in Dec., 2000.

Dow hits new high

October 5, 2006

It’s official. The Dow Jones Industrial average has finally risen above it’s previous record set in January, 2000. It’s taken almost 7 years. It closed yesterday at 11,727. Given the way things have been going I don’t expect it to rise above that level for a while, but I could be wrong. I listened to the news and analysts are attributing the rise to the slump in the housing market.

The analysis before was that the reason the Dow had not recovered for so long was that people were putting their investment money into the housing market, due to the low interest rates. This was driven by the Fed, which lowered those rates when the stock market took a large plunge in 2000, and the recession had hit. The stock market was considered too risky with the shams pulled by Enron, Global Crossing, and WorldCom. The Fed wanted to encourage borrowing, and that’s what happened. Since interest rates have been rising, and so have land values, the housing market topped off earlier this year. And investors have been looking for someplace else to put their money. As the article I link to notes, some of the commodities have been falling. Oil and gold have both fallen off their highs. So now investors are probably putting their money in the only place they feel they can continue to make some money: back in the stock market.

Experts say recession coming for Colorado

September 14, 2006

This article from the Daily Camera predicts a “recession” for Colorado next year. It mostly focuses on job projections, but cites retail sales predictions at the end. Experts disagree a bit on how much jobs will grow next year, anywhere between 1.4% and 1.9%. Tucker Hart Adams, an economist of U.S. Bank projected the lower figure, whereas C.U. economist Richard Wobbekind projected the higher one.

The most significant projected decline is in retail sales. They grew 7.8% in 2005. They’re projected to grow by 2.1% next year. Economists appear to agree that the slowdown will be due to consumers who they predict will buy less, due to higher prices and interest rates, and the need to lower debt.

My definition of a recession is an economic climate where there’s negative economic growth. While there are predictions of slow growth, they’re not negative, though projections can be off. So perhaps the margin of error could take it into negative territory.

Tech market slowing down in Boulder County

August 5, 2006

I found this article published July 31 in the Daily Camera, a Boulder paper. It provides a good summary of layoffs and reorganizations that have been happening lately with technology companies in Boulder County.

July stats

August 5, 2006

Here are the latest employment figures, with adjustments.

Nationwide

Month Change Employment Unemployment Rate
May +100,000 135,117,000 4.6%
June +124,000 135,241,000 4.6%
July +113,000 135,354,000 4.8%

The country has gained 978,000 jobs so far this year. Job growth has been slowing down some. By this point last year the country had gained 1,222,000 jobs for the year.

Colorado

Month Change Employment Unemployment Rate
May +1,400 2,264,500 4.5%
June +1,300 2,265,800 4.5%

Colorado has had a net gain of 16,800 jobs so far this year. Like with the national statistics, job growth has slowed. By this point last year, Colorado had gained 21,100 jobs for the year.

Colorado has gained 16,200 jobs above and beyond the previous benchmark set in December, 2000.

Denver Metro Area

Month Change Employment Unemployment Rate
May +10,500 1,215,600 4.4%
June +14,500 1,230,100 4.9%

Denver has had a net gain of 18,600 jobs so far this year. Comparing this year to last year, Denver appears to be doing better in terms of month-to-month employment gains.

The employment level is currently 9,600 jobs below the previous benchmark set in December, 2000. We may yet see Denver “break even” by early next year.

Boulder County

Month Change Employment Unemployment Rate
May +1,000 163,700 3.7%
June -1,000 162,700 4.2%

Boulder County has had no net gain since April. It’s had a net loss of 1,000 jobs so far this year. Even so it’s doing a bit better than last year, This is worse than last year, when it had lost 800 jobs for the year by this point.

Boulder’s employment level is 8,800 jobs below the previous benchmark set in December, 2000.

13% of men have dropped out of the job market

August 4, 2006

I heard about this on Tucker Carlson’s program on MSNBC. Yes it’s true. 13% of men from the ages of 30 to 54 have dropped out of the job market. They are not looking, sometimes for years at a time. You can read the article at the New York Times.

I’ll have the new employment statistics for July up soon. They’re coming out tomorrow later today.

June stats

July 15, 2006

Here are the latest stats, with revisions.

Nationwide

Month Change Num. Employed Unemployment Rate
Apr +112,000 135,017,000 4.7%
May +92,000 135,109,000 4.6%
June +121,000 135,230,000 4.6%

Colorado

Month Change Num. Employed Unemployment Rate
Apr -1,100 2,263,100 4.3%
May +1,800 2,264,900 4.5%

Colorado has gained 15,300 jobs beyond the previous benchmark level set in Dec., 2000.

Denver Metro Area

Month Change Num. Employed Unemployment Rate
Apr +9,900 1,205,100 4.4%
May +11,700 1,216,800 4.4%

Denver has 22,900 fewer jobs than the benchmark level set in Dec., 2000.

Boulder County

Month Change Num. Employed Unemployment Rate
Apr +500 162,700 3.6%
May +800 163,500 3.7%

Boulder has 8,000 fewer jobs than the benchmark level set in Dec., 2000.

An editorial I read in the Boulder paper talked about how the census shows the population of the City of Boulder has dropped over the last few years. The employment survey I cite here is for all of Boulder County, which includes cities like Longmont, Lafayette, and Louisville. The raw employment numbers do not reflect jobs relative to population, just the raw number of people employed in jobs, though the unemployment rate in Boulder County is still above the benchmark level in Dec., 2000: 2.0%.

Catching up in 2006

June 7, 2006

Here are the statistics the BLS has given for this year to date.

Nationwide

2006

Month Change Num. Employed Unemployment Rate
Jan. +154,000 134,530,000 4.7%
Feb. +200,000 134,730,000 4.8%
Mar. +175,000 134,905,000 4.7%
Apr. +126,000 135,031,000 4.7%
May +75,000 135,106,000 4.6%

Economic watchers have noted the gain of only 75,000 jobs in May. Economists I've heard on the news have predicted a slowdown in employment uptake for this year. They may see what's occurred in the last couple months as affirming their prediction. I note, however, that a similar thing occurred in January, 2005 when the U.S. gained 76,000 jobs. Looking at the data now it seems like an odd blip.

Month, Year Change Num. Employed Unemployment Rate
Nov., 2004 +133,000 132,235,000 5.4%
Dec., 2004 +160,000 132,395,000 5.4%
Jan., 2005 +76,000 132,471,000 5.2%
Feb., 2005 +265,000 132,736,000 5.4%
Mar., 2005 +140,000 132,876,000 5.1%

The same may happen again. We'll have to see what develops.

Colorado (statewide)

2006

Month Change Num. Employed Unemployment Rate
Jan. +2,800 2,252,000 4.7%
Feb. +2,900 2,254,900 4.3%
Mar. +9,300 2,264,200 4.3%
Apr. +500 2,264,700 4.3%

Denver Metro Area

2006

Month Change Num. Employed Unemployment Rate
Jan. -27,200 1,184,300 5.3%
Feb. +3,600 1,187,900 4.8%
Mar. +7,300 1,195,200 4.8%
Apr. +10,100 1,205,300 4.4%

Boulder County

2006

Month Change Num. Employed Unemployment Rate
Jan. -4,600 159,100 4.4%
Feb. +2,100 161,200 4.0%
Mar. +1,000 162,200 4.0%
Apr. +600 162,800 3.6%

What happened in Colorado from 2001-2005

June 7, 2006

Colorado (statewide)

The decline in employment began earlier here than it did nationally. The high point was in December, 2000 when 2,249,600 people had jobs and the unemployment rate was 2.6%. The decline began in January, 2001 and continued through July, 2003. By this point Colorado lost 103,600 jobs, and the unemployment rate ended up at 6.3%.

The employment recovery began slowly in August, 2003, but Colorado ended 2003 with a net loss of 19,900 jobs, and an unemployment rate of 5.9%.

Colorado gained 46,800 jobs in 2004. The unemployment rate went down to 5.5%. Colorado gained 48,000 jobs in 2005. The unemployment rate went down to 4.8%.

Colorado finally broke even with its previous employment high point (in December, 2000) in January of this year–a 5-year span. The unemployment rate was 4.7% at this point. Comparing this with the unemployment rate in Dec., 2000 (2.6%) we can see, again, the employment market has changed from what it once was.

Here are the employment and unemployment statistics for 2005.

Month Change Num. Employed Unemployment Rate
Jan. -600 2,200,600 5.2%
Feb. +7,600 2,208,200 5.2%
Mar. +4,900 2,213,100 5.2%
Apr. +2,300 2,215,400 5.3%
May +2,500 2,217,900 5.2%
June +4,400 2,222,300 5.1%
July +6,000 2,228,300 5.0%
Aug. +500 2,228,800 5.0%
Sept. +8,100 2,236,900 5.0%
Oct. +2,800 2,239,700 4.9%
Nov. +1,900 2,241,600 4.8%
Dec. +7,600 2,249,200 4.8%

The Denver Metro Area

Denver has been having a rough time of it since 2001. Like with the state of Colorado, Denver's high point in employment was in December, 2000 when 1,239,700 people had jobs and the unemployment rate was 2.3%. The decline began in January, 2001.

The Denver Metro Area (DMA) went through a series of peaks in unemployment. By January, 2002 87,200 jobs had been lost, and the unemployment rate rose to 7.0%–a dramatic 4.7-point increase in a year! The unemployment rate then started to dip. By May it got down to 5.6%, and then started to rise. By June, 2003 the employment numbers had improved some. There were now 71,200 fewer jobs than there were in December, 2000 (instead of 87,200 fewer), but the unemployment rate hit a peak of 7.1%. I can only tell that because the unemployment rate started to decline. The unemployment rate went on the decline after that, but employment kept falling. It's logical to conclude that since this is a regional survey, people were finding jobs elsewhere.

In January, 2004 the Denver Metro Area (DMA) hit bottom. It had lost 104,500 jobs, about as many as were lost at the lowest point for the whole state, and the unemployment rate was 6.8%. The jobs recovery began at this point. Every year since has been a mixed bag, some up months, some down months, but it has consistently ended the year on the upside, making modest gains.

The DMA gained 21,100 jobs in 2004, and ended the year with an unemployment rate of 5.6%. In 2005 the DMA gained 25,400 jobs, ending the year with an unemployment rate of 4.6%.

Denver has made up more than half of the jobs it has lost, but to date there are still 34,400 fewer jobs in the Denver Metro Area than there were in December, 2000.

Here are the employment and unemployment statistics for 2005.

Month Change Num. Employed Unemployment Rate
Jan. -31,600 1,154,500 5.7%
Feb. +7,300 1,161,800 5.8%
Mar. +8,800 1,170,600 5.8%
Apr. +9,800 1,180,400 5.4%
May +9,600 1,190,000 5.1%
June +11,500 1,201,500 5.4%
July -3,100 1,198,400 5.2%
Aug. +900 1,199,300 4.9%
Sept. +3,800 1,203,100 5.0%
Oct. +200 1,203,300 4.6%
Nov. +4,000 1,207,300 4.7%
Dec. +4,200 1,211,500 4.6%

Boulder County

Like Denver and the state of Colorado, Boulder County's high point in employment was December, 2000 when 171,500 people had jobs, and the unemployment rate was 2.0%. The decline started in January, 2001. The unemployment rate hit a high of 6.7% in January, 2002–a dramatic 4.7-point increase in just one year. By this point 12,000 jobs had been lost. The unemployment rate tapered off from there, but the employment numbers continued to go down, reaching a low point in August, 2003. By this point 18,600 jobs had been lost, but the unemployment rate had gone down to 5.8%. Since the Boulder County survey is regional, it's logical to conclude that the reason for this is that people left found work outside Boulder County. to find work elsewhere.

The jobs recovery for Boulder County began in September, 2003, though it ended the year with a net loss of 3,000 jobs.

Boulder County gained 4,600 jobs in 2004, ending the year with an unemployment rate of 4.7%. It gained 2,200 jobs in 2005, ending the year with an unemployment rate of 3.8%.

To date Boulder County has regained more than half the jobs it lost, but it still has 8,700 fewer jobs than it did in December, 2000.

Here are the employment and unemployment statistics for 2005.

Month Change Num. Employed Unemployment Rate
Jan. -4,700 156,800 4.9%
Feb. +2,200 159,000 5.0%
Mar. +700 159,700 5.0%
Apr. +1,100 160,800 4.6%
May +600 161,400 4.4%
June -700 160,700 4.8%
July -1,900 158,800 4.6%
Aug. -400 158,400 4.3%
Sept. +3,300 161,700 4.2%
Oct. +1,300 163,000 3.9%
Nov. +200 163,200 4.0%
Dec. +500 163,700 3.8%

What happened in the U.S. from 2001-2005

June 7, 2006

This is review material, just to give some background. The economic downturn and recovery we went through was longer than people have been used to. Below I'll explain what the job data shows happened.

For the U.S. as a whole the downward trend in the job market began in March, 2001. The high point in the national job market was in the prior month (February), with 132,551,000 people employed.

From February through August the U.S. lost 775,000 jobs, due to the economic recession that had hit. From September, 2001 through May, 2002 the U.S. lost another 1,446,000 jobs. I attribute this to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the subsequent military campaign in Afghanistan. I'll just note that it's been my observation from looking at past employment data, corrolating it with military campaigns, that almost anytime we have a major military deployment somewhere in the world, we see a loss of employment here in the U.S. I chose May as the endpoint for this measurement because the data shows the rate of decline in the employment market becomes less steep after this.

In total, from February, 2001 to May, 2002 the U.S. lost 2,221,000 jobs. The unemployment rate went from 4.2% in February, 2001 to 5.8%.

The employment market continued its decline through August, 2003. The unemployment rate reached a high of 6.3% in June, 2003. By August the U.S. had lost a total of 2,754,000 jobs. Note that most of the job losses occurred from 2001 to 2002.

In September, 2003 the job market began its recovery. 2003 ended the year by breaking even. It had gained about as many jobs in the latter part of the year as had been lost earlier in the year. 2003 ended the year with an unemployment rate of 5.7%. The upward employment trend continued from there on out.

In 2004 the U.S. had a gain of 2,097,000 jobs, and ended the year with an unemployment rate of 5.4%. The U.S. broke even with the previous high point (February, 2001) in February, 2005. At that point the unemployment rate was still 5.4%. If we compare the unemployment rate with what it was in February, 2001–4.2%–we can see that even though the number of jobs evened out, the job market was different from what it was 4 years before.

Back around 2000/2001, economists said that there were about 150,000 people who entered the job market in the U.S. every month. As time has gone on this has declined. The last I heard from an economist, they estimate now that only about 100,000 people enter the job market every month. What this means, though, is that while the job market was in decline from 2001 to 2003 about 4 million new workers entered the job market. This would probably explain the higher unemployment rate in Feb., 2005 vs. Feb., 2001.

2005 was the year that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas. Katrina hit in late August. Rita hit in late September. The employment data for the U.S. showed a dip in employment in September and October. But it picked up again in the following months.

The U.S. gained 1,981,000 jobs in 2005, and ended the year with an unemployment rate of 4.9%. Obviously this wasn't as good as 2004, but it came pretty close. I think the disparity can be attributed to the devastating hurricane damage and the large disruption it caused in the lives of people and businesses.

From the data I have as of this writing (in 2006), the U.S. has had a net gain of 2,555,000 jobs above and beyond the previous high point in February, 2001.

Here's a table of the employment data for 2005:

Month Change Num. Employed Unemployment Rate
Jan. +76,000 132,471,000 5.2%
Feb. +265,000 132,736,000 5.4%
Mar. +140,000 132,876,000 5.1%
Apr. +228,000 133,104,000 5.1%
May +106,000 133,210,000 5.1%
June +166,000 133,376,000 5.0%
July +241,000 133,617,000 5.0%
Aug. +175,000 133,792,000 4.9%
Sept. +48,000 133,840,000 5.1%
Oct. +37,000 133,877,000 4.9%
Nov. +354,000 134,231,000 5.0%
Dec. +145,000 134,376,000 4.9%

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