Wednesday, February 22, 2012

December 2011 Employment Report

I’m fed up with the swings in employment – they’re just too big. So to show something that actually makes a bit more sense to me, I’ve seasonally adjusted the numbers as there’s finally enough monthly data for the X12 program to estimate the seasonal adjustment factors (‘000):


Based on the official data issued by DOS yesterday, the economy added 324k jobs in December 2011 – the seasonally adjusted figure is a more reasonable 34k. You’ll also note that the November figure changes from an eye-watering 252k jobs lost to a more believable 58k jobs added.

Seasonally adjusting the data doesn’t change the unemployment ratio much, as they track pretty closely:


The discrepancies amount at most to just under 0.2%, which looks pretty acceptable to me. There’s a very slight uptick in December, but the overall ratio is still around 3.1%.

Overall, the economy has added about 1.7 million jobs since January 2009, or about 600k jobs a year, mostly in 2011:


Labour force and employment growth for 2011 has been pretty impressive (log annual changes; seasonally adjusted):


Employment growth averaged nearly 8.0% in log terms for 2011, compared to 2.4% in 2010. Some of that is from the spike in labour force numbers in November-December 2010 (see this post for details). Adjusting for that anomaly in the labour force numbers, we get a more reasonable 4.1% growth in log terms.

Technical Notes:

December 2011 Employment Report from the Department of Statistics

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