The Housing Chronicles Blog: So what does a half-million job loss mean?

Friday, December 5, 2008

So what does a half-million job loss mean?

As the recession begins to feed on itself, job losses are mounting -- at the rate of more than 500,000 jobs alone in November. So what exactly does that mean for the economy? First, from a story in the Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. recession deepened last month as U.S. companies shed jobs at the fastest rate since the early 1970s, pushing the unemployment rate to its highest level in 15 years.

The figures suggest the year-old recession will approach or even exceed the 1981-1982 downturn in severity and support expectations that Federal Reserve officials will soon lower interest rates to levels not seen in a half century.

Nonfarm payrolls, which are calculated by a survey of establishments, plunged a larger-than-expected 533,000 in November, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday, the 11th-straight decline and largest since December 1974...

The unemployment rate, which is calculated using a separate survey of households, rose 0.2 percentage point to 6.7%, the highest since October 1993. Economists think the jobless rate, which was just 5% as recently as April, will hit 8% or higher in coming months...

Indeed, Friday's numbers cap a series of bleak economic reports this week suggesting that after escaping a serious downturn so far, the U.S. faces the type of severe recession that occurred in the early 1980s rather than the relatively mild ones of the early 1990s and 2001. Automakers and retailers reported dismal sales in November despite efforts to lure consumers with discounts, suggesting households are putting off spending as they face an uncertain economic climate.

Click here for full story.

Next, economists react to the news.

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