Monthly Hiring has picked up. Adding over 200,000 jobs a month would certainly be an indicator of an improving economic situation, but some caution is in order. The chart shows that most employment additions have only trended above this line for very short periods of time.
This graph paints a fare better picture that the unemployment rate alone. I think this graph illustrates two major items. One, it shows us that we have dropped down to late 1970s level of individuals who are employed compared to the population. Two, we may either be seeing the early retirement of the baby boomers due to our economic situation. Three, we may also be seeing the reversal of the employment boom that the rapid addition to the workforce due to women putting off families, or having families but not opting for the primary care giver role.
Job oepnings, the yellow line, are approaching the levels they were in during the last economic boom. But then we know that our last economc boom wasn't so much a boom as a bubble. What is really telling is the left handed end of this graph. It looks like pre-2001 there were vastly more job openings than there were now. Was it due to the inernet bubble of the 1990s? Or was the American economy really that much more robust?
Another sphincter tightening graph for kenyesians. Prior to the 1990s we see that employment downturns were relatively short, prior to the end of te 1970s it looks like a return to our previously employment peak took no more than a year or a year and a half. We see this start to change with the recession of '83, and it becomes painfully obvious with ech recession onward. It has been six years since the crisis and we haven't even managed to get employment, as a percentage of peak, to the levels they werer during the worst points of any other recession on this chart.
What I find telling is that even during the last two recessions small business hiring plans have not trended negative at all, it is only during our last recession that they have dipped below the zero line.
Now whether we still want to celebrate our drop in the U-3; or whether these charts compell you to seek the comfort of the water of life, whisky for those of you who aren't familiar with Irish coloqiualisms, that is up to you. But one thing is abudently clear, we are not nearly out of the woods yet.