NOV # +321,000 jobs; Unemp. rate the same at 5.8%. HERE! Jobs since Obama took office? HERE Unemp rate under Obama? HERE

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How Many People Lost Their Jobs in 2012? (Updated in May 2013 with final 2012 numbers)


Interesting question.  (Answers below.) 


Someone left a comment on one of my articles:

"It is hard too see with all the private businesses cutting back, some leaving the country and others not hiring. I hear frequently of business closing but you report no job losses in the last 35 months??? Where are all the unemployed people who are applying for and getting unemployment coming from?? The government keeps extending unemployment benefits because of all the job losses yet you report more jobs under Obama??. Just wondering?"

It doesn't make sense to some people:  All they hear from right wing (and some mainstream news sources) is that companies are outsourcing jobs, people are being laid off, this company or that company is closing down...  Then how can we possibly have had 35 months of private sector job growth?  Someone must be lying!

(And, of course, they assume it is Obama and the Dems.)

But no...




Numbers below are taken from the BLS' Job Openings, Layoffs, and Turnover Survey (linked above) and the JOLTS databases at the BLS website which provide numbers of people who quit, who are laid off, and who are hired along with numbers of job openings, as reported by employers.

2012 Gross Number of Total Separations:              49,676,000

  • Gross Number of  Layoffs and discharges:      20,546,000
  • Gross Number of Quits:                                 25,132,000
  • Gross Number of "Other" separations:             3,997,000

2012 Gross Number of Total Hires:                        51,991,000                  


Net number of New Jobs through December 2012 on JOLTS: (Number of Hires minus Number of Separations):
                                                                        2,315,000


The Monthly Jobs Numbers:

Net Number of New Jobs from the Monthly Jobs Report (through December 2012 with all latest revisions):   
                                                                        
2,193,000

Please read through the explanation: 


As anybody knows who has followed this blog, people lose their jobs and people are hired in every month, in good times and in bad times.  

Even at the height of the job loss of the recent recession, in fall through summer of 2008-2009, between 3,700,000 and 4,100,000 people were hired in each of those months.  The problem was that layoffs and discharges, which usually average less than 2,000,000 a month, really popped up:    Over 4,600,000 MORE people were laid off in 2009 in total than were laid off in 2007, as you can see from the graph below.

Notice that about 26,800,000 people in total were laid off or discharged in 2009.  Another 24,700,000 quit their jobs, for a total of 51,500,000 separations.  Only 46,400,000 people were hired, so we had a NET jobs loss of over 5 million that year; that is, at the end of 2009, we had 5 million FEWER jobs than we had at the beginning of 2009.








"Net" vs. "Gross" Jobs Numbers 

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) talks about "jobs" numbers, it talks about "net" jobs numbers; that is, if more people were hired in a month than lost their jobs, the jobs numbers are higher; if more people lost or left their jobs in a month, the jobs numbers are lower.

"Gross" numbers are the numbers of people who actually lost or left their jobs and the numbers of people who were hired, without subtracting losses from gains or vice verse.  The number of people who claim unemployment or who file for first time unemployment claims is a "gross" numbers.  It doesn't account for people who were hired during that same week.  It doesn't account for people who quit during that same week.      

To repeat, through December 2012 from the Job Openings, Layoffs, and Turnovers Survey (JOLTS)& databases:



Numbers below are taken from the BLS' Job Openings, Layoffs, and Turnover Survey (linked above) and the JOLTS databases at the BLS website which provide numbers of people who quit, who are laid off, and who are hired along with numbers of job openings, as reported by employers.

2012 Gross Number of Total Separations:              49,676,000

  • Gross Number of  Layoffs and discharges:      20,546,000
  • Gross Number of Quits:                                  25,132,000
  • Gross Number of "Other" separations:             3,997,000

2012 Gross Number of Total Hires:                        51,991,000                  



Net number of New Jobs through December 2012 on JOLTS: (Number of Hires minus Number of Separations):

                                                                          2,315,000



  • The number of new hires in 2012 exceeds the number of new hires for each of the past three years.
  • The number of layoffs and discharges in 2012 is the at about the lowest level of layoffs and discharges since the JOLTS databases were established in 2002.  (It is very slightly higher than the level of layoffs and discharges in 2011.)
  • The number of people quitting is the highest number of people quitting in the past four years.  (This is a good thing.  Fewer people quit when the economy is bad and people are unsure that they can easily re-enter the job market.  Also, people aren't leaving to go to other companies when the Quits numbers are low.)  

The Monthly Jobs Numbers:

Net Number of New Jobs from the Monthly Jobs Report (through December 2012 with all latest revisions):                 2,193,000



So.. How Many People Lost Their Jobs in 2012?

About 20,500,000 lost their jobs (were laid off or discharged) in 2012, but remember two things:  
  • This is a very low number of layoffs and discharges; among the lowest in the past 12 years. 
  • In "net" jobs numbers, 2012 was a year in which over two million more jobs were added than people lost jobs or people quit.    

"This has got to be WRONG!  All I ever hear about are layoffs, companies getting rid of people, jobs going offshore!  I have friends and family members that still don't have jobs!  This shows that we are ADDING jobs!  Someone is lying!"

  • Remember that we are still over three million jobs short of the number of jobs that we had in early 2008.  The population has grown, so we need about 800,000 to a million more jobs a year just to accommodate population growth.  That means that we would need at least 7 million more jobs right this minute to get as many people working who want to work as compared to early 2008.  Also, some states and some industries are experiencing a much slower recovery than others.    
  • Remember that one political party has a vested interest in portraying the economic recovery in the most abject of terms.  They want you to believe that lowering tax rates for the rich guys is going to somehow lead to much quicker economic recovery.
  • Remember that gloom and doom news always makes better press than upbeat news.
  • Remember also that the recovery is still very fragile and, what with fiscal cliffs, sequesters, and budget fights, things could still turn around and go downhill, which would please the Republicans to no end.
              

All Jobs Reports and numbers for 2011, 2012, and 2013 HERE!                                        

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