The employment rate is plunging faster than a hundred kilogram bolide entering the atmosphere at a normal angle to the plane surface of the Earth [thank 49er!].
Manufacturing is down over a million, with Construction close behind. Plain Business and and Retail are close behind, each losing hundreds of thousands. Even the Hospitality sector lost over a quarter million slots.
But, lo!, do not despair! For there is at least one area that has seen an increase in the number of jobs.
That area? Government.
According to the Labor Department, the Drain To Our Wallets Sector increased the number of luke-warm bodies it employs by about 170,000 since December.
Problem with that number, and all the numbers the Labor Department issues, is that they are “seasonally adjusted.” Which means that the numbers aren’t real numbers, they are outputs from some statistical model. We don’t know what the actual numbers are.
What happens is that unemployment usually decreases in the first part of the year, due to things like retail letting go of the temporary workers it hired for the Federally-Recognized Holiday of December 25th rush, etc. The opposite is also true: employment grows in the weeks leading up to December.
The Labor Department, and economists elsewhere, don’t like to see these dips and doodles and so they apply a statistical filter that brings the unemployment rate up when it usually goes down, and down in when it usually goes up.
These are weird statistical models. They take as input the real numbers and spit out not-real numbers. Economists worry people won’t understand the natural up- and down-swings in unemployment and so massage the real numbers to make them less variable, and, presumably, more calming.
Anyway, the real number of bodies tossed onto the street is different than the numbers you read in the press. I don’t know by how much. Just something to keep in mind.
Point is, it’s not all doom and gloom out there. The government is growing, and that must be a good thing, right?