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December 4th, 2009

Has the Job Market Hit Bottom? We Hope So



There is big news in the world of jobs today, the number of lost jobs is getting smaller. The unemployment rate fell back to 10% in November after hitting 10.2% in the month prior. Only 11,000 jobs were lost in November — some 90,000 less than some economists had predicted. Even September and October’s jobless numbers saw some improvement after the fact, the number of jobs lost during that period improved by 159,000.

Before you pop the champagne, it’s important to consider why these numbers may be as low as they are. With production levels firming, the worst of the recession falling behind us, and with millions of Americans now unemployed, we wonder if there’s anyone left to fire.

Whether it has been home prices, unemployment, residential or commercial real estate, the country has been waiting for these indicators show some signs of improvement for months now. While it’s certainly too soon to tell if jobs are looking up for the long term, November’s numbers may be the first indication. It’s also worth noting that the average workweek increased to 33.2 hours in November, up from their record low of 33 hours in October, an indication that production is picking up.

Both the recession and the holiday season bring swaths of temporary workers to the job market. According to Moody’s Economy.com, temp agencies added 12,000 more jobs last month than they did in October. Temp hirings are an indication that companies are looking for some extra help, but aren’t confident enough to offer full time or long term positions.

With the job market being as depleted as it is, we haven’t been the only ones who have wondered if things can get any worse. Unfortunately, Moody’s predicts it will. “Moody’s Economy.com still expected payroll employment to decline until mid-2010 and the unemployment rate to peak at 10.7%. Despite the decline in November, as previously discouraged workers and new entrants venture into the labor force, the unemployment rate is sure to rise.”

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2 Responses to “Has the Job Market Hit Bottom? We Hope So”

  1. Mitch Says: December 31st, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Hi Tim,

    You know my position on this one. I think the figures are false, and I’m going to wait to see what the numbers are in February before I start to think that maybe things are ready to move forward in a positive manner. There’s still this question about commercial real estate lenders and the possibility of many of them falling apart, and another company recently filed for bankruptcy also.

  2. Tim Manni Says: January 4th, 2010 at 1:38 pm


    We’re by no means out of the hole on this one yet. Commercial real estate is not looking good, agreed, and I don’t expect bankruptcies and downsizing to halt by any great degree anytime soon.

    Thanks again,

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HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

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Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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