Employment report….

Spencer came home from vacation and found downed trees and lines and sporadic wifi connections he attempted in the neighborhood. His report will have its own timetable this week. I found Michael Konczal’s take at New Deal 2.0 useful. There was certainly a lot of reactions to the information.

Payroll data came in this morning showing zero net new jobs. Actually, it came in at +17,000 private payroll jobs, -17,000 public payroll jobs. The government continues to drop jobs, shedding around 600,000 since the beginning of the recession. This has become a major disaster that has increased the ranks of the unemployed and put downward pressure on demand at the worst possible time.

The terrible private payroll jobs numbers need to be taken into account along with two other worrisome signs. Firstly, in the previous two months job numbers were revised down, making the anemic recovery even worse. June dropped from 46,000 to 20,000 jobs created, and July went from 117,000 down to 85,000. The labor market is even weaker than we thought.

The second sign is that major indicators surrounding those who do have a job are weak. Let’s look at the total amount of hours worked in the economy, production and non-supervisory hours. The Bureau of Labor Statistics adds up all the hours worked in the economy and plots them on a graph, divided by a previous year to set a baseline. This is total hours worked in the entire economy, not hours per employee or anything like that. And that number declined in August: