Friday, March 09, 2007

February Jobs Report

This morning the BLS released its estimate of job creation for February. It was about as expected:
Nonfarm payroll employment continued to trend up (+97,000), and the unemployment rate (4.5 percent) was essentially unchanged in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Employment grew in some service-providing industries but declined sharply in construction. Manufacturing employment continued to trend downward. Average hourly earnings rose by 6 cents, or 0.4 percent, over the month.
The job market has been gradually cooling over the past several months (not that it was ever really hot), and this report is consistent with that trend, illustrated in the following picture.

And what parts of the economy are cooling down the most, you wonder? The next picture tells the story. Unsurprisingly, the construction industry has led the way toward a weaker job market, but nearly all sectors of the economy have seen some slowdown in job creation, with the exception of the government and leisure & hospitality sectors.

Hand-in-hand with weaker job growth comes weak earnings growth by workers, of course. To the $10 per week increase in take-home pay that the average production worker has received since the year 2000, in February they were able to add another $0.30. Unfortunately, that only made up for about half of the fall in average weekly pay that they took home in January.

For more good pictures of the employment situation, see this morning's post by PGL over at Angry Bear, who deserves recognition for getting up well before the sun to get his post up from the West Coast!

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