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The jobs report in five charts

Friday's jobs report was grim, to say the least. How grim? Let's take a look.

Unemployment and Payroll Numbers

The unemployment numbers, for one thing, have stayed exactly the same, and remain far above where they were when the crisis first hit in September 2008. While reported non-farm payrolls grew by 80,000, that figure is still short of the figures from earlier this year:

Public and Private

Government employment, due to state-level austerity and a federal hiring freeze, is particularly struggling, and actually shrinking at the moment. Private payrolls are growing, though the rate of growth is slowing:

Alternative unemployment measures

The Bureau of Labor Statistics actually puts out six unemployment statistics. There's U3, the most commonly used metric, which counts people who don't have jobs, but have looked for one in the past four weeks, but U1, U2, U4, U5 and U6 exist as well. U1 and U2 tend to be lower than U3, and measure the percentage of people who have been unemployed for 15 weeks or longer and the percentage who have lost jobs or done temporary work in the period in question, respectively.

U4, U5 and U6 tend to be higher than U3. U4 includes everyone counted in U3, as well as people who have stopped looking for work because they've concluded none is available. U5 includes everyone in U4 as well as people who would like to work but for whatever reason have not looked for work recently. U6 includes everyone in U5 as well as the underemployed, or part-time workers who want to be working full-time but cannot for whatever reason.

And just as U3 has stagnated recently, so too have the other metrics:


While all sectors got hit by the recession, they're not all recovering equally. So while education, health, and mining and logging (including oil and gas drilling and coal mining) are above their pre-recession peak, the construction sector is still struggling:


One of the few bright spots in the report was that average hourly wages have increased, and indeed have increased consistently through most of the recession. But of course, these figures are cold comfort for the unemployed not making any wages at all:



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Suzy Khimm · July 6, 2012

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