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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How Many Jobs Lost Per Week?


Let's get something straight:  Jobs are lost every week and every month.  People are fired, people are laid off, businesses or locations are closed and everybody is let go.  

Also people quit every week.  You yourself, dear reader,  may have quit a job at some point in time. 



But people are also HIRED every week and every month.  New businesses open, businesses expand, businesses replace people who have left or been fired.  Every week.  You yourself, dear reader, may have been hired for a job at some point in time. 

This happens in good times and bad.

Yes, even in bad times, people are getting hired.  Even in good times, people are let go.  

Now:  The monthly jobs report presents estimates based on surveys as to how many jobs are gained or lost in a given month.  Those numbers are based on the number of new jobs (people getting hired, businesses opening) MINUS the number of jobs that have been cut (people getting fired, people quitting, businesses closing or cutting back).  The monthly jobs report therefore reports NET job growth or loss.  

For 30 months in this country, we have had MORE jobs being added than we have had jobs being cut.  For 37 months in the private sector (not counting federal workers, state or local workers such as teachers, firemen, cops, or people who staff the DMV, only counting people who work for private businesses), we have had MORE jobs added than we have had jobs being cut.

The weekly unemployment claims number is not a NET number.

It is a GROSS number of the number of people who filed an initial first time claim for unemployment benefits for that week.  Some of these people, people working in construction and other seasonal jobs, may have been placed on temporary layoffs, meaning that their companies have told them that they will be rehired.  But they are still eligible for unemployment benefits.  Remember also that, as these people are being let go, either permanently or temporarily, other people in other places and business are being hired.  But there is NO weekly report of the number of people who are being hired.

The number of people filing for first time claims for unemployment is a somewhat volatile number, as it may be impacted by the weather, by the time of the year of certain holidays, and even by the day of the week of holidays.  The number of people filing for first time claims for unemployment has been going down since mid 2009, and it is now approaching the levels of late 2007 or early 2008.  Here's the latest report on weekly claims with a chart showing claims this year compared to claims over the last three years:  Weekly Initial Claims Jump.   

Also remember that not all people who are laid off or discharged file for unemployment claims.  So we don't have a NET number of jobs that were lost or gained per week.  We do have a NET monthly number of jobs that were lost or gained per month; and we have a GROSS number of people filing for unemployment claims for any given week.

So... If you want to know how many jobs are lost per week, are you asking for gross or net jobs loss numbers?

Your question can only be answered if you know what kind of information you are seeking.                

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