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February 5th, 2010 (Modified on February 8th, 2010)

Jobs Lost Since Recession: 8.4 Million



The numbers look bad once again. We’ll start with the bad news, then work our way to the not-so-bad news.

Since the recession began in December of 2007, the U.S. has lost 8.4 million jobs. “In terms of job losses, this has been the worst recession since the end of the World War II more than 60 years ago,” writes Rex Nutting of MarketWatch.com. Nonfarm payrolls dropped 20,000 in January, a sizeable pool of jobs, but far less than the 150,000 (revised upward) lost in December. Moving onto the better news, the unemployment rate dipped to 9.7% from 10% last month. If the unemployment rate can continue to trend downward, it will be especially encouraging since some analysts expected the rate to remain at or above 10% for the entire year.

Trend Spotting

Remember what we said last month about not falling for erratic monthly job reports? If not, here’s a refresher:

It’s easy to look at December’s jobless numbers or January’s jobless numbers and get down about the fact that some 170,000 jobs (revised upward) were lost following November’s upward revision which found that 64,000 jobs were created. Again, it’s important that we remember to focus on the overall trend.

Looking at graphs (like the one from economy.com) of the employment situation over the last year, it’s a visual representation that things are improving. I emphasized the word “visual” because things may not feel as though they’re improving on the street, but the numbers are trending towards a slow and gradual improvement.

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2 Responses to “Jobs Lost Since Recession: 8.4 Million”

  1. Mitch Says: February 5th, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Of course, you know I have to step in with two things. One, that unemployment figure doesn’t take into account how many people might have just dropped off the rolls after exhausting benefits. Two, if the commercial real estate prediction comes true, that will have a drastically negative effect on unemployment.

    I’m hoping for the best, though.

  2. Tim Manni Says: February 8th, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Hey Mitch,

    I agree, these numbers don’t reflect the true scope of the problem.


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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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