Today we saw the release of two piece of important employment data: the Challenger, Gray & Christmas monthly survey of lay-offsand the Monster Employment Indexwhich measures on-line want ads. The latter is an improvement over traditional want ads which were showing declines due to loss of market share to the web rather than actual job opening declines. Just because companies were not recruiting by printing their ads on dead trees doesn't mean they were not hiring. But even in the world of friction-free job recruiting, they are indeed not hiring. The index showed only on up month out of the last eight, and even now with the economic picture improving, job recruiting is still dropping. Why?
It's not as though these jobs are being decimated by lay-offs. Yes, there was a lay off peak last Fall and another bigger one in January, but since then lay-offs have dropped every month so far. In January there were roughly a quarter million jobs eliminated according to this survey. Last month there were less than seventy five thousand. You have to go back to Spring of 2008 to find levels that low.