The latest overall job loss numbers showed a loss of 524,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate climbed to 7.2%. This is the highest unemployment rate since January 1993. The November payroll numbers were revised to a loss of 584,000 and the October numbers were revised down to a loss of 423,000. This is the twelfth straight month of losses and a total of 2.6 million jobs for 2008. In the 2001 recession, monthly losses hit a high of 325,000. The 1990-91 recession peaked at 306,000 losses. As you can see from the chart below, numbers peak toward the end of a recession (past recessions are marked by grey bands), making employment a lagging indicator.
Here is a breakdown of where the job losses were as well as which sectors were adding jobs. Worst hit was retail, manufacturing, construction and professional services. Again, health services, education and government added the most jobs.
Total change in non-farm payroll = - 524,000
- Private Sector = - 531,000
- Natural Resources & Mining = - 1,000
- Construction = - 101,000
- Manufacturing = - 149,000
- Durable goods = - 114,000
- Non-durable goods = - 35,000
- Services = - 273,000
- Wholesale Trade = - 30,000
- Retail Trade = - 66,600
- Transportation = - 23,900
- Utilities = - 100
- Information & Media = - 20,000
- Financial Svcs & Real Estate = - 14,000
- Professional & Business Svcs = - 113,000
- Education = + 7,000
- Health Svcs = + 37,500
- Leisure = - 22,000
- Government = +7,000
With the slightly better than expected job losses, the futures initially jumped before coming back to indicate a relatively flat open. In the pre-market, Dupont , American Express , Alcoa , Bank of America , and General Electric are leading the Dow.