Where are the Jobs? - BLS JOLTS August 2009 report

The BLS JOLTS report for August 2009 was released earlier this week and it's just damning on job creation in the United States.

The hires level was little changed at 4.0 million in August but has declined by 1.6 million, or 28 percent, since the most recent peak in July 2006. The hires rate was low in August at 3.1 percent and little changed from July. The hires rate was little changed in August in all industries.

JOLTS job openings 09-09
Src: BLS

In the attached report, table A, we see job openings down, across the spectrum of occupational areas. Manufacturing job openings down by 2/3 since last year, construction, leisure and hospitality almost cut in half in terms of employment opportunities, arts and entertainment also down almost 2/3.

We just ain't creating no damn jobs!

EPI cranked the numbers from this report and calculated there are 6.3 people for every job opening and that number is underestimated due to people with jobs, but looking for better not being counted in the JOLTS statistics.

EPI 6.3 workers per job
Src: EPI. Click graph to enlarge and zoom

Note the EPI graph timeline. It goes back to 2000, so we have a crisis on job opportunities and creation!

EPI also notes while these numbers are for August, don't get too excited because the September unemployment numbers indicate the 6.3 workers per job ratio will increase.

JOLTS stands for job openings and labor turnover survey.

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Alan Tonelson cranks so more numbers

Over on his economics website:

U.S. unemployment rate, September, 2009: 9.8 %

Monthly job creation needed to reduce U.S. unemployment to 5 percent within 5 years: 250,000

Number of U.S. jobs lost, September, 2009: 263,000

Number of ten-year periods in U.S. history when average monthly job creation totaled even 150,000: 1*

*1991-2000 – the 1990s expansion

That is some very cold, stark reality. 250k jobs per month to even get the unemployment rate to 5% in 5 years. Ain't gonna happen. Not without some major jobs, WPA style program or some major industry creation where U.S. citizens, U.S. workers are required and all of the production must be domestic.

EconomPic says 10.9 people per job opening

This gets better. EconomPic Data cranked the U6 unemployment numbers and came up with an even more damning graph and statistic. 10.9 people per job. (U6 is a broader unemployment measure and has the rate about 17% at the moment).

check out the graph.

What Economy?

To paraphrase that old political slogan: "What economy, stupid?" (Not directed to you, Mr. Oak, but to you know who.)

With the "official" number of unemployed at 263,000 for last month, but with the household survey showing 738,000, and the numbers at the BLS site, when one includes those "seasonally-adjusted" numbers, even higher, it does well to compare the obvious.

The tax base has been disassembled and destroyed over the past 30 years with the offshoring of jobs, since only 30% to 35% of corporations actually pay their fed taxes (thanks to profit laundering at all those offshore finance centers), and their fed tax revenues are down by 58% (so 42% of 30% is what they paid in fed taxes - and that's usually the lower end corporations; the ones either too honest, or too poor to get a tax attorny, or too ignorant of profit laundering procedures).

And person fed revenues are logically down by 21% -- with all that unemployment.

So what happened to the tax base? Pretty obvious to those of us paying attention.

tax revenues in $1.4 T Budget deficit CBO projection

I didn't cover it in this post, but if you follow the links to the CBO budget deficit recent report, you will see individual and corporate tax revenues way down, adding to the deficit.

Doing a detailed post on tax revenues, as well as lost revenues due to tax havens, manipulating nations as well as states on tax "incentives" (I wrote some on how IBM gets these yet never delivers on the deal on why they got state tax breaks, i.e. supposedly to create jobs).

But yeah, once upon a time the government was pay for by taxes....

I am trying to find the article but I read somewhere that

the last ten years we had meager to now non-existent job growth.

But we love our neo-liberal economic growth model and those tax cuts.

RebelCapitalist.com - Financial Information for the Rest of Us.

got some of it

Ritholtz covered it, with graph.

I know I wrote it up somewhere on EP too.

BTW: you can do a site specific search with Google.

That's on my "To Do" list to replace the EP search with a site specific Google one....

we just have too much information at this point and indexing it needs major improvement.

Here's the article....

Jobs should be Job #1

This week the Senate did not extend unemployment benefits, so here we go with hundreds of thousands of just the 48% who even qualify falling off of any support with no job growth in sight.

To me, I don't know about you but I can "feel that pain" through those statistics, charts and graphs of so many Americans needing work. From looking over the different occupational areas, this isn't just one sector, it's completely across the occupational spectrum, so it's all sorts of people who are in deep, deep shit.

Other statistics

I wonder if poverty indicators will be up next year. And with jobs scarce, how are we going to integrate the large number of prison inmates who are being paroled or who "max out"? Will crime make more sense if you can't make an honest living (bear in mind that these are not our smartest criminals)? We need to invest in education and infrastructure, to absorb our "surplus labor" and to retool for the "new America."
Frank T.

Frank T.


I don't recall the exact numbers right now but I know the U.S. has more felons and people in prison than anywhere else in the world.

While I'm pretty much on violent/sex crimes, "throw away the key" or even "save the state some money and let them kill each other" type (sorry, some of these people....are not people)...

It also seems that on many offenses, once one gets a felony conviction, for the most part, their future is over, even after they get out...in terms of getting jobs, going to college ...you know, real rehab and getting back into society and participating as a citizen.

It also seems like most who are caught are stupid, doing "retro" crime, whereas the white collar type of criminals are still getting slaps on the wrist.

There are Jobs but Cheap Foreign Labor are Taking it

All the STEM jobs are going to H1-bs, L1s, EB1, EB2 and EB3.
Until Obama cancels all these visas there will be no recovery.
Jobs, jobs - is the main problem and not healthcare.

job losses

Could someone define 'job losses' how does it differ from 'first time unemployed' and other unemployment number.

Bonddad's favorite employment 'green shoot' is decreasing 'job losses'.

Great blog - it's my favorite.


I hate to say this but.....

I don't read Bonddad that much because the predictions are so plain wrong. What can I say.

Ok, I said it. I just scanned the HuffPo post.

Ok, the difference is they are trying to ignore the absolute numbers by claiming there are "trend lines" as if these trends are going to erase the 9.8% official unemployment rate or the number of people dropping off of the count because they are running out of benefits and cannot land a job.

So, one is "trend line" or slope and the other, which I believe myself, midtowng and others are focused on, is the absolute levels.

Also, on initial claims, well, the 4 week moving average is only 9k down, so I'll stick with those rate of change details...and one must realize that in 12/08, Q1 /09 we had a massive "trough" as in depression era level economic trough due to the financial crisis "shock". So, the reality is we are still in deep recession level initial unemployment claims....but if one compares that to the "depression era level unemployment cliff dive"...it looks good...

It's also not just another cyclical lagging indicator this time, as noted by Paul Krugman as well as Brad Delong and others, it's a coincident indicator, it's feeding back upon itself.

So back to Bonddad's graph and IMHO he's cherry pickin'.

Here is that graph with bars:

Now here is the same graph, with lines. Notice the down trend now exposed.

Now, here is that same nonfarm payroll data, graphed not in "rate of change" per month, but in absolute raw numbers (SA, I'm using the exact same economic metric in Bonddad's original graph).

See a "trend" in that last puppy? See employment rolls drop?

To me, someone is having "chart mania" trying to disprove the obvious....uh, unemployment is going to top 10% and those jobs are in deep doo doo. It would take job creation of 250k jobs per month for 5 years to get back to a 5% unemployment rate.

Need I say more? I think we have deep denial in some of certain people's posts trying to justify a wrong prediction, what can I say. Myself, I'm not so into predictions because I'm not that advanced, but I will claim this "V" that was predicted, well, it's now the time we would see evidence of that "V" recovery and very obviously it ain't here....so I would claim those predicting a "V" recovery should fess up and admit they missed it.

WOW! What an answer! This

What an answer! This is like going to graduate school. Thank you.

I was especially interested in the comparison between the bar chart PAYEMS and the line chart PAYEMS. Recently, I wrote a comment in Bonddad noting that on his stock charts there is no such thing a ‘a’ (single) trend line. Sometimes he has so many trend, base, support, etc. lines that it’s hard to read the raw data. And, that’s what I always appreciated about his analysis – its complexity; not over simplified.

Yet, for some reason on the ‘Green Shoots’ charts there is only one line and always from the trough. Your bar/line chart comparison vividly demonstrates the old saying: “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics.”

At the risk of overstaying my welcome (teacher): I still am not clear about what the difference is between “Job Loses” and “First Time Unemployed”. As I understand it, recent Job Loses are in the range of about 250,000 in September. But, First Time Unemployment is in the range of 540,000. What exactly does “job loses” measure?

If you have the time and are of the mind – if not, thank you anyway for your detailed response.


Tom, how about creating an account and joining in?

You'll bypass all of the CAPTCHA and can also more easily track your comments in the "my account section" which lists them and the replies.

Consider EP the "self help" of economic blogs. i.e. we're all grad students on this bus in a way. The point of EP is to give the peanut gallery a voice, for it's usually our pocketbooks that are getting picked.

On the initial unemployment claims vs. losses that difference (I think) is the people who file minus the people who just got a job. So, you can lose a job right, but you can also get a job.