Interest Rate Roundup

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The latest on employment

It's "jobs" week again in econo-land. The biggest report is the Labor Department's employment situation release on Friday. But we're already getting an early peek at how the labor market is doing, courtesy of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas and ADP.

Challenger's report showed a month-over-month decline in job cut announcements of 35,939 between February and March. Total cuts came in at 150,411, the lowest since October. But it's difficult to know if that's a seasonal thing or not, since Challenger's figures are not adjusted for seasonal variations. On a year-over-year basis, job cuts surged 180.7%, up from February's 158.5% increase but below the massive 274.5% rise in December.

On the other hand, the ADP report was a disaster. The firm said the economy shed 742,000 jobs in March. That's the biggest decline in the history of the data series (my data goes back to January 2001). It was also worse than February's 706,000 drop and worse than forecasts for a reading of -663,000.


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