Another 524,000 US jobs go
Grim December - but IT holding up
The US Department of Labor put out its monthly jobs report this morning, which was widely anticipated to not be good news. The department's Bureau of Labor Statistics said that non-farm payrolls fell by 524,000 in December and that 1.9m jobs had been nuked in the final four months of the year, pushing the unemployment rate in the States up to 7.2 per cent of the workforce.
For the full year, the American economy has shed 2.6m jobs, and the employment rate since the recession started in December 2007 has risen from a relatively modest 4.9 per cent. Much has been made this morning of the fact that the 2.6m job losses represents the largest number of jobs to go since 1945, after the World War II machine was cranked down, but the US population was much smaller and so was its workforce way back then, so those losses resulted in a much higher unemployment rate.
The fact that the current 7.2 per cent unemployment rate is the highest we have seen in 16 years is significant, and so is the expectation that the number will very likely continue to grow in 2009. Incidentally, the bureau revised upwards its job loss figures for October and November, as often happens with these monthly reports.
It is not a simple task to reckon how information technology professionals are doing in the American job market, since the bureau does not classify workers by job, but rather by the industry sector they work in or by other demographics, such as sex and age. But you can get some sense of how IT vendors are doing from the data put together by the Labor Department by looking at sub-industries that it does track (this includes companies that actually make IT gear).
The bureau also tracks jobs in what it calls the information industry, which includes publishing, broadcasting, telecoms, data processing, hosting, and other information services. The remaining category in the bureau's data is computer systems design and related services, a subset of the professional services category. You can look at the raw data for December right here (pdf).
According to the bureau's latest report, computer and peripheral equipment makers in the States removed 700 full-time people from the payrolls in December (these are seasonally adjusted figures), while communications equipment makers shed 1,700 jobs. Semiconductor and electronic components makers lost 4,700 jobs. Against a total 721,800 jobs in these three manufacturing subsectors, those job losses are tiny.
Manufacturers across all product categories shed 149,000 jobs in December against a total workforce that fell to just under 13m employees. That's about a one per cent drop for the IT-related manufacturers, and about 1.1 per cent for manufacturers in general. Other industries - like construction and financial services - have been much harder hit. Nonetheless, you don't want any industry sector to shed one per cent of its workforce every month.
Within the information industry's data processing sub-sector tracked by the bureau, jobs actually rose by 500 to a seasonally adjusted 266,500. In the computer system design and related services area, 2,900 jobs were cut in December, to just over 1.4m.
Of course, IT spans all industries, and the bureau's report provides no visibility into what job losses might look like inside the IT departments across all industries. Uncle Sam really doesn't know how many of the 2.6m jobs that went down the tubes in 2008 were in IT. ®
> Not that your maths are much better than his protectionism.
It was an allegorical calculation but if you prefer...
D = $10 trillion (current US national debt rounded down lots)
C = 535 (number of congressmen)
S = $200,000 (average congressional salary, rounded up)
TCSA = 535 * $200,000 = $107 million dollars (total congressional salaries annually)
D/TCSA = years to pay of debt at $107 million per year = 93457.94392523364485981308411215 = long-past-your-lifetime-but-really-accurate-now
> Doing away with the debt doesn't have to be limited to only their salaries, it can also be done by lowering spending or raising taxes, or some combination of both.
Oh, *no* kidding?
Point is, piddling with congressional salaries changes *nothing*
As for *total* US liabilities, I've heard different figures. Here's the lowest:
" Bottom line: Taxpayers are now on the hook for a record $59.1 trillion in liabilities, a 2.3% increase from 2006. That amount is equal to $516,348 for every U.S. household. By comparison, U.S. households owe an average of $112,043 for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and all other debt combined. "
About $230,000 for every man/woman/child in the US (assuming pop is 260 million)
Were you aware of this?
I've heard other figues of 100 trillion, 120 trillion, even 150 trillion - these aren't necessarily any less accurate for being larger (or necessarily any more accurate, to be fair).
Separate note: my neighbour is American & told me in her home town (population about 25,000) about 60% (* 60% !! *) of the houses are on the market. She knows of one house bought at $115,000 which they can't shift at $35,000. There are a lot more people living on the streets there too. It doesn't get reported widely.
[any errors in the above are mine, not my neighbour's or wiki's]
On point #4 (not #3) I'm pretty sure Paul <b>does</b> realize how much US Debt is, and that was part of his point. Not that your maths are much better than his protectionism. Doing away with the debt doesn't have to be limited to only their salaries, it can also be done by lowering spending or raising taxes, or some combination of both. The point of the $1 salary is to incentivize their abysmal performance. While much has been made in the MSM (el Reg included this time) of Bush's low approval ratings in the US, even at his lowest he's been 3-5% better than Congress.
The U.S. economy is hurting everyone
The U.S. economic meltdown is causing a world wide economic meltdown. The U.S. national debt is $11 Trillion but in two weeks that could grow to $12-$13 Trillion when Congress and the Pres start throwing money at pork projects in an ill-fated effort to stimulate the economy. Maybe we could borrow back $20-30 Trillion from OPEC and the oil companies?