Monday, July 25, 2011

May 2011 Employment Report: Softly, Softly

May’s employment numbers, released last week, show job losses of about 200k in May:


However, most of these losses appear to be from temporary employment positions, as the labour force also contracted at the same time:


End result? The unemployment rate stayed mostly at the same level as in April, at 3.0%:


I’d still take this as a signal that the economy is at full capacity, as we’re looking at near historical lows in the unemployment rate. While GDP growth likely softened in 2Q 2011, there’s been little impact on jobs so far – June’s numbers however may show a different story.

Technical Notes:

May 2011 Employment Report from the Department of Statistics (warning: pdf link)


  1. The weakness of this type data, does not show the industry's demographic of labour along with the quality of the labour and where the displacement or replacement is taking place. Therefore it does not add value for future planning in terms of human capital management especially in training and upskilling

  2. I'm grateful for small favours - two years ago, we didn't even have monthly employment data. But you're quite right on your comments.

    To be fair though, monthly data is mainly useful for short term macro-management i.e. monetary policy not labour management. There's a more detailed breakdown in the quarterly employment report however.

  3. True....then again macro management can never be done on month to month basis... it is meant for micro management the same way you close out your accounts monthly to ensure that minimally you are operating above breakeven on month to month basis to ensure that at least you cover your monthly overhead expenses