Friday, February 06, 2009
How Low Can It Go?
The official unemployment figures for the month of January were released earlier today and they do not look good. Actually, the 598.000 jobs lost last month ranks as the highest single month job loss in over 35 years. And if that is not enough bad news the recent job losses have increased the official rate of unemployment in the US to 7.6%, which is the highest that we have experienced since 1992. On the relatively bright side, there were two private sectors that did not experience any job losses; Education added 32600 jobs and Health Care saw an increase of 20700 jobs.
This recession is already 14 months old/young and it shows no signs of slowing down yet. Although the total jobs lost over this period has already amounted to 3.6 million some predict that we might have another 2-3 million to go. Unfortunately these prognosticators might turn out to be right. If one is to examine the historical record of the last 6-7 recessions then what becomes very evident is that unemployment peaks towards the end of recessions; that is why it is called a lagging indicator. If that is so then fasten your seat belts for a rough ride.