Comments on U.S. and Canadian Jobs Data

July 5, 2013

The wire service headlines told the good news from the U.S. jobs report.  Employment in June, up 195K, was 30K more than forecast, while revisions to April and May levels identified 77K more workers than counted previously.  Growth in private-sector employment exceeded 200K in both May and June.  Jobs grew by a decent 1.7% over the past twelve months, and hourly wage earnings growth accelerated to a sporty 0.4% on month and 2.2% on year versus 1.7% in the year to April.

For cup half empty people, more sobering news could be found.

  • At 135.902 million, non-farm payroll jobs are still 2.154 million less than their all-time peak of 138.056 million in January 2008, some 65 months earlier.
  • More jobs were created in the final quarter of 2012 and first quarter of this year than in the just completed second quarter.
  • The downtrend in the unemployment rate has stalled.  Such averaged 7.7% over the past ten months and was 7.6% in both May and June.
  • June’s jobless rate is only 0.6 percentage points lower than the mid-2012 level of 8.2%.  Such had fallen by a greater 0.9 percentage points between mid-2011 and mid-2012.
  • The broadest measure of un- and under-employment jumped to a five-month high of 14.3% in June from 13.8% in May.
  • As a percent of the population, employment constituted just 58.7%, a mere 0.2 percentage point higher than this year’s low of 58.5% in March.
  • Average weekly hours worked remained at 34.5 hours in June, matching May and down from 34.6 hours in April.
  • The U.S. jobless rate is a half percentage point higher than Canada’s 7.1% level.

Speaking of Canada, jobs in that economy dipped 0.4K last month but rose 35.7K per month in the second quarter, which is the same percentage rise as an increase of 273.4K per month in the U.S. labor market.  Over the past year, however, Canadian jobs increased 1.4%, somewhat slower than the U.S. advance.

Neither the United States nor Canada are close to a tipping point into cost-push inflation.

Copyright 2013, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

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