Friday, January 07, 2011

Bright Spots: Temp Help and Mfg. Overtime Hours

Several bright spots in today's jobs report include:

1. Employment in temporary help services continued to grow by 15,900 jobs in December, which is the 14th increase during the last 15 months.  Since the cyclical low of 1.724 million jobs in September 2009, there has been an increase of 495,000 jobs in the temporary sector to 2.219 million jobs in December.  That level of temporary and contract employment jobs is the highest since September of 2008, 27 months ago. 

2. Average overtime hours for the manufacturing sector in December matched the 31-month high of 4.0 hours per week in November, the highest level since April 2008. 

Taken together, these two trends suggest that many U.S. companies are meeting the increasing demand for their products and services by:  a) using temporary and contract employees instead of hiring permanent, full-time employees, and b) using existing employees more intensely with increased overtime hours in the manufacturing sectors.  Both of those factors would be characteristic of an economy that is in recovery measured by production, income and sales, but is not yet creating enough full-time, permanent jobs to bring down the overall jobless rate to 9% or lower.  

We're still in a "jobless recovery" like the last two post-recession periods, but labor market conditions continue to improve week-by-week for jobless claims, and on a monthly basis for employment growth and the jobless rate.  Even though we would all like job creation to accelerate, we can definitely look forward to a better year in 2011 for the U.S. employment situation. 

19 Comments:

At 1/07/2011 7:37 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

the participation rate dropped to 64.3%, a new cycle low and the lowest reading since the early 80's the the viscous volcker recession when he jacked rates up to kill inflation.

there is just no positive way to spin that. 4 million workers have been defined out of the unemployment number since the start of the recession and many are not even added back into u6.

this december u3 number was horribly fudged.

population was up 174k, but workforce dropped 260K? that's a 434k gap and makes up most of the gain. then add in 30-40k in phantom "adjustment" jobs, and really very little happened.

i am increasingly concerned that the BLS is more interested in producing happy looking numbers that actually representing the economy

 
At 1/07/2011 10:53 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

there is just no positive way to spin that.

Where have you been? These guys can spin an impending asteroid impact into a positive.

 
At 1/08/2011 9:13 AM, Blogger juandos said...

What?!?!

Where's sethstorm to decry that massive 'unfairness' of this sort of 'criminal' use of people?

Its pure and unadulterated 'slavery' I'm sure...


"These guys can spin an impending asteroid impact into a positive"...

Yeah, just ask the spinmeister himself...

 
At 1/08/2011 9:59 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


morganovich said...

Then look at the U-6 and other numbers.

How about they just have the following policy to remove any lingering uncertainty:
Start hiring the unemployed over the long term or you will find that you've been replaced by someone who will.

 
At 1/08/2011 10:02 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

How about they just have the following policy to remove any lingering uncertainty:
Start hiring the unemployed over the long term or you will find that you've been replaced by someone who will.


Your National Socialist tendencies are showing.

 
At 1/08/2011 10:44 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...

VangelV, you're trying to make something out of nothing.

 
At 1/08/2011 12:08 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Start hiring the unemployed over the long term or you will find that you've been replaced by someone who will"...

O.K., sounds good...

How about those who should do this hiring use YOUR money to finance this national-socialist program you want to start?

 
At 1/08/2011 2:33 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

sethstorm said: - "VangelV, you're trying to make something out of nothing."

Something out of nothing? That's funny. Who is it that sees conspiracies everywhere & evil intent on all sides, when there is only economic reality at work?

 
At 1/08/2011 8:03 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

How about they just have the following policy to remove any lingering uncertainty:
Start hiring the unemployed over the long term or you will find that you've been replaced by someone who will.

...VangelV, you're trying to make something out of nothing.


I would not call National Socialist economics nothing.

 
At 1/09/2011 12:56 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

seth-

you likely still have some money.

how will you feel when a guy demands that you pay him to inspect your plumbing even though you don't want him to?

what argument will you use to tell him no that could not be equally well used by any corporation?

you demand that others hire you for the greater good but refuse to practice what you preach.

 
At 1/09/2011 5:47 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


morganovich said...

Not as much cash as you might think.

As for your plumbing example - uncertainty and political excuses are far different from simply "not needing the plumbing checked".

That, and the business has a lot more negotiating power than an individual. A whole lot.

 
At 1/09/2011 7:02 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

That, and the business has a lot more negotiating power than an individual. A whole lot.

That is not true. An individual with a marketable skill set has a huge amount of negotiating power because businesses will bid for his/her services. It is the individuals who have few marketable skills and many competitors that will have trouble finding a decent bid for their services.

 
At 1/09/2011 7:15 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


VangelV said...

You presume that the private sector is completely honest. They aren't, and are able and willing to attack even those "few".

You just made my case stronger.

 
At 1/09/2011 8:15 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You presume that the private sector is completely honest. They aren't, and are able and willing to attack even those "few".

And are employees 'completely honest?' Don't they make claims that are not entirely true, make themselves appear better than they are?

The beauty of the marketplace is that the private sector or the employees do not have to be totally 'honest' in order to get a good outcome. What matters is action and keeping one's word. If I sign a contract than it is up to me to live up to the term of that contract. The same is true for my employer. If I am competent and my employer does not live up to the terms of our contract I will simply go elsewhere. The same is true if I do not live up to my contract. In that case the employer is free to find a replacement.

You just made my case stronger.

You are so ignorant of economics that you are incapable of making a valid conclusion.

 
At 1/09/2011 11:10 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


And are employees 'completely honest?' Don't they make claims that are not entirely true, make themselves appear better than they are?

The costs(opportunity, time, money) are far lower for the employer. The employer lies, lawyers protect them. The employee lies, they're properly screwed. This applies even more for ones that purposely remain out of touch with staffing agencies.


The beauty of the marketplace is that the private sector or the employees do not have to be totally 'honest' in order to get a good outcome. What matters is action and keeping one's word. If I sign a contract than it is up to me to live up to the term of that contract. The same is true for my employer. If I am competent and my employer does not live up to the terms of our contract I will simply go elsewhere. The same is true if I do not live up to my contract. In that case the employer is free to find a replacement.

You incorrectly assume that all people can effortlessly switch between jobs and industries.

Also, you think that the lack of honesty is a selling point, such that an incentive to defraud someone is created. Thank you for proving my point again, if only in a roundabout manner.

Further, you assume the law is even-handed. It isnt, overly favoring the employer or staffing agency in the bid to be business friendly,

An employer has to be quite bad to not get around employment law. Yet a person on the other side, nothing short of divine intervention will help them in court.



You are so ignorant of economics that you are incapable of making a valid conclusion.

Yet you ignore reality by assuming perfect economic conditions, without any outside interference.

 
At 1/10/2011 9:18 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The costs(opportunity, time, money) are far lower for the employer. The employer lies, lawyers protect them. The employee lies, they're properly screwed. This applies even more for ones that purposely remain out of touch with staffing agencies.

This is not true. An employer lies and a jury awards a fat award to the employee. The company's reputation is damaged and there is a loss of good will and market capitalization. Current employees start to look for other opportunities and demand a higher compensation to offset the greater risk.

If an employee lies he loses a job that he never would have gotten without that lie. Or he uses the position as leverage for another job with another company which is obtained without having to lie.

 
At 1/10/2011 9:27 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

You incorrectly assume that all people can effortlessly switch between jobs and industries.

No. I am assuming that people who set goals, work hard, and have marketable skills will have no trouble over the long run. The beauty of the market is that we tend to get what we deserve. The competitive market does not tolerate a DMV or Post Office type of performance by either the employees or the institution.

Also, you think that the lack of honesty is a selling point, such that an incentive to defraud someone is created. Thank you for proving my point again, if only in a roundabout manner.

That is not what I said. What I said is that in the real world people lie. The market is robust enough not to be affected by human nature. It is because people have human frailties that the market works better than the alternative. Your utopian vision cannot work without uniformity of desires and needs and selfless angels to make things work. In the real world we have no uniformity and I have yet to see the angels that you need to make your system work.

Further, you assume the law is even-handed. It isnt, overly favoring the employer or staffing agency in the bid to be business friendly,

I do not believe that this is the case. Judges have made companies hire back individuals who were addicts, alcoholics and thieves. From what I can tell, labour legislation overwhelmingly favours the employee.

An employer has to be quite bad to not get around employment law. Yet a person on the other side, nothing short of divine intervention will help them in court.

Nonsense. As I said above, I have seen judges and arbitrators force companies to hire people who have stolen from their employers or have not performed due to an addiction. They ruled the addiction an illness and forced the employer to pay for rehab.

 
At 1/10/2011 9:44 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yet you ignore reality by assuming perfect economic conditions, without any outside interference.

This is your worst problem. You ignore human nature and assume that when people are given monopoly power over others there won't be many problems. In a planned economy, which is what you favour, you need much more knowledge than is available to the bureaucracy and need people who do not take advantage of the power granted to them.

But we already know that in the absence of market prices the bureaucrats are flying blind and cannot make the right decisions. We also know that people in power are not angels and that they use that power for the benefit of themselves, their friends, and their supporters.

In the marketplace we need no angels or no perfect information because the decision making is decentralized. Those that make good decisions prosper and profit while those that make bad decisions go out of business. In the absence of force, the only way to gain power in a free market is to convince consumers to buy the products that you make, which means that they have to value them more than they value their money. Once a dominant position is reached, a company still has to keep fighting for market share because there are always competitors in the wings waiting to take it out. Its power is kept in check by both its consumers and its competitors.

This is exactly why capitalism and relatively free markets have been so good at increasing the quality and duration of human life while the planned systems that you favour have not done the job.

 
At 1/10/2011 12:03 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

An employer lies... /An employee lies...
Yet when an employer lies, it interprets it as a PR problem, and not a problem that PR cannot fix. Rarely does that happen and even more rare does punitive action stick.


When an employee lies, it nullifies their gains, the punitive action sticking with them.



...Post office... DMV...

You must have some bad combination of both, since I've had no issue with either. They've provided prompt and courteous service. In light of their public sector service, they exchange pay for security and generous benefits.

 

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