From her post:
Oh, what a month! The U.S. lost 533,000 jobs in November, the highest rate in 34 years (since 1974). This moves the nation’s unemployment rate to 6.7%; it was 6.5% in October.
According to fresh Labor Department data, economists had actually predicted a 6.8% unemployment rate for November — yet they only predicted that 320,000 jobs would be slashed.
Either way, this is bad news across the board: construction employment was down by 82,000 over the month; retail trade employment fell by 91,000 in November, with the largest job loss among automobile dealers (-24,000); and leisure and hospitality employment lost 76,000 jobs in November.
For me, the most disturbing part of the report was this:
Employment also declined throughout the service-providing
sector. The largest loss (-101,000) was in employment services,
which includes temporary help agencies. Employment services has
lost 495,000 jobs so far in 2008.
Employment is usually thought of as a lagging indicator of the economy — companies only slash jobs after they realize that sales are going south. But temporary help is more of an indicator of things to come, since it’s easier to adjust the number of temporary workers than it is to hire and lay off permanent employees.
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Buckle up, folks. This isn’t over, and it’s going to continue to be a wild ride.