The Employment Situation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the April 2008 Employment Situation report this morning. The report beat the very low expectations by showing a loss of 20,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in April – better than the expected 75,000 job loss estimates. In addition, the unemployment rate was slightly lower at 5% – down from 5.1% in March. Since the monthly jobs figures can fluctuate, we prefer to smooth out the numbers over 3-month and 1-year averages to get a better picture of the short-term and longer-term trends. Our jobs chart below shows the 3-month and 1-year nonfarm payroll figures over the past 5 years through April 2008 :jobs

Although it remains to early to tell if the worst of the jobs losses are over, you can see the 3-month average bounced a bit this month after several months of freefalling. In any event, the economy needs to add at least 100,000 jobs each month simply to absorb the new workers entering the workforce.

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