Job Numbers

First of all, when looking at the chart remember you are looking at ALL NON-FARM employed positions, which does not take into account reduced hours. Then look at the chart below it to see the output per hour… it tells the rest of the story..

Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics survey (National)

Seasonally Adjusted
Super Sector:  Total nonfarm
Industry:      Total nonfarm
NAICS Code:    N/A
Data Type:     ALL EMPLOYEES, IN THOUSANDS
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
1999 127480 127890 127996 128372 128585 128851 129142 129334 129536 129944 130238 130532
2000 130781 130902 131374 131660 131885 131839 132002 132005 132127 132116 132347 132485
2001 132469 132530 132500 132219 132175 132047 131922 131762 131518 131193 130901 130723
2002 130591 130444 130420 130335 130328 130373 130276 130260 130205 130331 130339 130183
2003 130266 130108 129896 129847 129841 129839 129864 129822 129925 130128 130146 130270
2004 130420 130463 130801 131051 131361 131442 131489 131610 131770 132121 132185 132317
2005 132499 132720 132841 133153 133365 133624 133946 134136 134223 134321 134701 134861
2006 135155 135429 135711 135862 135886 135956 136142 136291 136438 136520 136781 137000
2007 137180 137216 137400 137435 137591 137645 137580 137552 137652 137817 138032 138152
2008 138080 137936 137814 137654 137517 137356 137228 137053 136732 136352 135755 135074
2009 134333 133652 133000 132481 132178 131715 131411 131257 131118 131007(P) 130996(P)
P : preliminary

The following table as a historical reference follows periods of output for employment in non government

Major Sector Productivity and Costs Index

Series Id:  PRS85006092
Duration:   % change quarter ago, at annual rate
Measure:    Output Per Hour
Sector:     Nonfarm Business
Year Qtr1 Qtr2 Qtr3 Qtr4 Annual
1999 3.9 0.3 3.3 7.1 3.3
2000 -1.5 9.4 0.1 4.0 3.4
2001 -1.3 7.4 2.5 5.8 2.9
2002 8.8 0.5 3.8 -0.3 4.6
2003 3.7 5.3 9.7 1.5 3.7
2004 0.9 3.7 0.7 0.8 2.8
2005 3.9 -0.6 2.9 -0.4 1.7
2006 2.8 0.6 -1.9 2.4 0.9
2007 1.2 2.8 5.5 2.0 1.8
2008 -0.1 3.1 -0.1 0.8 1.8
2009 0.3 6.9 8.1

Output strained through… If you haven’t guessed already, fewer hours, same number of workers = Higher output…

Right now, the Obama administration is looking at the November numbers and cheering that only 11,000 jobs were lost in that month. It will be interesting to see if the output remains as high, and it will also be interesting to see how badly the preliminary numbers get fudged for permanence.

An example of fewer doing more easily found in the relationship to the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003 (march) and corresponding high numbers with people doing the work of the soldiers deployed.

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