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Job losses slow enormously

The economy shed 11,000 in November. The number looks eerily like a typo. October, after all, lost 111,000 jobs. Losing a mere 11,000 isn't good news, per se, but the trend is the best news we've heard all year. Steve Benen's graph tells the story well:


But this isn't like the old song. People don't have to admit it's getting better, because for them, it isn't, at least not yet. It's just beginning to stop getting worse. Next week, the Obama administration is supposed to unveil its next set of job-creation policies. It's good timing: Now that the bleeding has begun to stop, the healing can begin.

By Ezra Klein  |  December 4, 2009; 11:05 AM ET
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improvement we can believe in!

Posted by: jkaren | December 4, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

It's -better- news, but I wouldn't settle on "good news" yet. Remember that the real problem from 2000-2007 was not job loss, although that was present for a time early on in that period. The real issue was very weak job creation across the board for the United States, which weakened employment recovery across the period.

Until we actually get strong job growth, I won't be holding my breath.

Posted by: guardsmanbass | December 4, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

nice to see Ezra's Obama administration cheerleading here. Where was he when it went to 10.2%. Was he bashing the adminsitration for doing nothing as the Republican's were? No. He's was conspiciously quiet.

If you were a football fan in Detroit I'll bet you were cheering when they won their first game this year after going winless last year. The point is, you need to point out the BAD when you point out the good.

Oh and these numbers are still ugly. 16 million jobless and just now we're having a summitt when we should have had it during the summer. Also the numbers show an increase in seasonal employment due to the holidays.

I'm also sick of hearing that this "would have been a lot worse". Try telling that to someone trying to get credit now, trying to find a job, trying to feed their families. They're not cheerleading quite as much.

Also at some point it had to bottom out no? Since 2007 (including during a Republican president but with a Democratic congress) they've lost 7.5 million jobs many of which many economists feel might never come back.

Sure 10.0 is better than 10.2 but no one should be jumping for joy. The heavy lifting hasn't even started yet.

Posted by: visionbrkr | December 4, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I think this is the point at which we wonder if the seasonal adjustment is doing funny things. DeLong pointed out that this may be happening.

That said, S&P profits have been pretty good, so at some point that money is gonna go into investments.

Posted by: NicholasBeaudrot | December 4, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr, the Republicans were bashing Obama for the stimulus. It was THEIR idea to "do nothing."

The real question is what things look like in terms of jobs growth. We really need to see a long line of 400k-500k/month job gains for an extended period if we ever want to hope to dig ourselves out of this hole.

Posted by: constans | December 4, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I doubt seasonal adjustment is playing a role in today's positive jobs report. Currently, seasonal adjustments are looking for seasonal related hiring, making for a large hurdle rate.

Prior to seasonal adjustment, non farm payrolls grew by 80,000 from 132,143 to 132,233 from Oct to Nov. However, the BLS apparently expected seasonal factors alone to create 91,000 jobs, and so on a seasonal adjusted basis we lost 11,000.

I do agree that in times of poor credit access / weak corporate balance sheets, investments tend to be financed more out of profits than debt, and profit growth is a good sign.

Posted by: justin84 | December 4, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Even if we could magically create 500k jobs per month, it'd take two years to really reverse the unemployment crisis. And that doesn't even address that many people will be underemployed, earning a fraction of what they used to.

Still graphs like the one Ezra shared illustrate why it's pretty sour grapes to criticize Geithner, Bernanke, and Obama for not doing more to fix the economy and the job losses.

Yes, we're still in a hole, but as the ship of state generally steers slowly, it's pretty remarkable to make this much change in less than a year.

I understand that this is small consolation for folks who are still out of work, and losing their homes and savings. That's tragic, and that's why we need to work together to get anywhere we need to get to.

Posted by: billkarwin | December 4, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse


this is from July 22nd when House Republicans (of which many if not most are a bunch of idiots) were asking one simple question at each of their minute speeches that day.


Posted by: visionbrkr | December 4, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Yay, love the Beatles reference.

Posted by: bupkiss | December 4, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

We inflected last January. We'll be alright...just need to focus on the right derivative.

Posted by: zosima | December 5, 2009 2:21 AM | Report abuse

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