Friday, November 12, 2010

National news: Better, but still not good

Recently we've seen workforce news in Oregon that shows stability in the labor market, such as an unchanged unemployment rate for 11 months and nonfarm payroll employment down just 1,000 over the year in September. While these are a welcome change from the dramatic bad employment news we saw in 2009, they're still not really "good" news.

Two releases from the Bureau of Labor Statistics this week seem to follow the same "better...but not good" pattern at the national level.

First, an article from USA Today reported on the latest BLS figures from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

Better: the number of people hired in September rose from August, and the economy gained 300,000 jobs over the previous year.

Not Good: there are 5 people vying for each job opening, up from 1.8 people competing for each job opening prior to the recession.

A second news release from the BLS was published today with details on extended mass layoffs (50 or more workers affected for at least 31 days) nationwide.

Better: Over the previous year, mass layoff events declined sharply in the third quarter of 2010. Of the 18 major industry sectors in the private nonfarm economy, 14 had fewer mass layoff events.

Not Good: Manufacturing firms in the U.S. reported 249 events involving the separation of 34,221 workers. Construction firms recorded 202 mass layoff events.

You can find more details on JOLTS or mass layoffs at the BLS economic news releases page.

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