Jobless Recovery Watch: 'Getting Worse Slowly' Doesn't Mean 'Better'

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by: Brad DeLong

Ryan Avent raises a cheer for the labor market (see here):

In fact, the figures aren't that bad. The headline number is negative—off 54,000 for the month—but that's overwhelmingly due to the continued drawdown in temporary census employment, which subtracted 114,000 jobs from the August report. Ex-census, the economy added 60,000 jobs in August. Private employment rose by 67,000 for the month. Since December of 2009, private employment has grown by a total of 763,000...

We would need 9 X 120,000 = 1,080,000 net private sector jobs in the nine months since last December in order to be able to hold the trend unemployment rate steady. Things in the labor market are not getting worse quickly. But things in the labor market are far from better by any sane metric.

And here is Calculated Risk (click to enlarge):

CRimages: Percent Job Losses aligned at bottom, August 2010Click to enlarge