Today's report on non-farm payrolls showed a loss of 20,000 jobs and a drop in the unemployment rate, now down to 5.0% from 5.1%. The latest overall job loss numbers are much better than economists expected and still well below the six figure numbers seen in past recessions. 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 (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 continue to be construction and manufacturing. Education, Health Care and Professional Services added the most jobs.
Total change in non-farm payroll = - 20,000
On the news, the markets are poised to continue their rally. Leading the Dow in gains on the open are Citigroup , GM, Bank of America , AIG, and American Express .