Fates and Fortunes

Unemployment Remains on the Rise

7/02/2009 05:16:51 PM

Following up on yesterday’s post that TV station groups and individual stations continue to lay off people in droves, Automatic Data Processing Inc. yesterday released its monthly employment report, revealing that private sector/non-farm employment decreased by 473,000 in June.

That breaks down like this: small businesses lost 177,000 jobs, medium businesses lost 205,000 jobs and large businesses, those with more than 500 employees, lost 91,000 jobs. Those numbers remain frightening but ADP reports that unemployment rates are slowing.

Unemployment graphMonthly employment losses in April, May and June averaged 492,000, compared to the first three months of 2009, when monthly losses averaged 691,000. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the country lost 467,000 jobs — 6,000 less than ADP’s figure — in June. Still, that boosts unemployment to 9.5%, the highest it’s been in 26 years. In all, 14.7 million people are unemployed by the Labor Department’s count. By comparison, last year at this time the country was at 5.6% unemployment. For the two years prior, 2006 and 2007, unemployment was a full percentage point lower at 4.6%. This graph from the Labor Department illustrates this dramatically, with unemployment nearly doubling in the past year.

The education and health care sectors remain stable, while layoffs from automotive plans and dealerships continue to drive unemployment to record levels. As we know, that’s rough on TV stations (and newspapers) because so much of their revenue is derived from automotive advertising.

ADP’s report offers bad short-term news – this trend is likely to continue for a while – but better long-term news – it has to get better at some point: “Despite some recent indications that economic activity is stabilizing, employment, which usually trails overall economic activity, is likely to decline for at least several more months, although perhaps not as rapidly as during the last six months.”

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