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Far worse, in fact. Here's the headline: U.S. Employers Cut 80,000 Jobs in March
Third-straight monthly decline is largest in five years; unemployment rate climbs to 5.1 percent.
Unemployment Rate Jumps to 5.1 Percent

There are four sectors in which hiring is up: education, health services, leisure and hospitality.

The other day my Edward Jones financial guy blew some sunshine up my ass. He said "Whenever people start talking about recession it is usually about over". He is sure things are about to turn up again, that our economy is solid and this is just a blip. I don't understand how he can call himself an investment advisor. He says the recession is ending, I say the depression is beginning.

By Neil Irwin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 4, 2008; 12:30 PM

Joblessness soared and employers shed jobs in March, the government said today in a report that offers strong evidence that the nation is in recession.

The unemployment rate rose to 5.1 percent, from 4.8 percent, the Labor Department said. Employers reduced their payrolls by 80,000 jobs in March, the steepest loss in five years and the third straight month of decline. And the department revised the previous two months employment levels down by another 67,000 positions.

The numbers are far worse than economists were forecasting, and they solidify the case that a serious economic downturn is underway.

"This paints a clear picture that we entered a recession in January," said Dana Johnson, chief economist of Comerica Bank. "This is an economy that is contracting."

The stock market was mixed on the news, with the Dow Jones industrial average off 30 points at 11:45 a.m. but the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index was up slightly.

The report shows clearly how the problems in the housing and financial markets are rippling through different sectors, showing the deep interconnections between seemingly separate parts of the economy.

The number of construction jobs, which has been falling steadily for 18 months, continued its rout. That sector shed 51,000 positions, as fewer residences are being built.

Fewer houses mean less construction and building materials; the number of manufacturing jobs fell by 48,000, with some of the steepest losses among makers of lumber, drywall and other materials. Automakers also shed jobs. With their homes less valuable, Americans seem to be holding off on big-ticket purchases.

Consumers pulling back means stores need fewer workers; the number of retail jobs fell by 12,400. The steepest losses were in sellers of building materials and appliances, both of which are highly tied to the housing business.

And the problems in the financial markets caused finance firms to cut 5,000 jobs, with the steepest losses in "credit intermediation" companies, which includes banks and mortgage brokers.

This has caused even businesses that have little to do with housing to become less confident about the future. The number of professional and business services jobs, a sector that had been keeping the economy afloat, was down by 35,000.

The steepest service sector losses were in employment services. When employers want to cut back, they are often more inclined to trim temporary employees than permanent staff.

"The first thing people do is cut back on temporary staff," said Paul Villella, chief executive of HireStrategy Inc., a Reston, Va.-based employment services firm. "Then if things get really bad, they cut into their core staff and do layoffs."

Information firms, which include publishers, broadcasters and telecommunications outfits, cut 6,000 jobs, reflecting the broadness of this retrenchment.

"There is more sluggishness around hiring," said Villella. Clients that were looking to hire 10 new people have cut back to six, he said, and are taking longer to bring those six onto staff.

So far in this downturn, there have been relatively few layoffs -- instead, employers have held off on hiring and let empty positions stay that way. But that may be changing. Last week, the number of new claims for unemployment insurance rose to its highest level since Hurricane Katrina, a potentially worrisome sign.

There were some bright spots in the report. Wages are climbing at a reasonable pace, with average hourly earnings up by 0.3 percent, or 5 cents in March.

And a handful of sectors are continuing to add jobs, notably education and health services, which added 42,000 positions; and leisure and hospitality, which added 18,000 jobs.

Follow the links to see the graphs:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/04/AR2008040401345.html?referrer=email

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
hausfrauatu
Apr. 5th, 2008 01:05 pm (UTC)
Yep. We have one income with five people and are basically crapping ourselves. Our debt went up a lot last year, mostly due to medical expenses. My son had to have his hernia repaired. We waited for it to resolve itself, but it didn't. Nothing like a couple of thousand of bucks in unexpected expenses to make life suck a little. And yes, we are insured...ha!

I went shoe shopping with my big kid last night. The winter clearance racks are still full. Especially at our more upscale store. The men's shirts were $5. I bought Christmas presents for my husband, because in 10 months, who knows? At least he'll get a couple of shirts.

They can't even practically give stuff away! I was thinking, 'Not good. Not good at all.'
liveonearth
Apr. 5th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear that your situation is as tenuous as it is. It's definitely time to cut any unnecessary expenditures. I hope you are able to develop any individual skills or abilities that each of you have that could be useful in trade. If you can grow food, do it. If you have any land where you can plant fruit or nut trees, those are an excellent investment.

I'm scared, too. I keep having to reframe the situation as "interesting" to keep my pants clean.
(Deleted comment)
liveonearth
Apr. 6th, 2008 01:05 am (UTC)
Well then. I won't worry about you. I wish I had a garden and a fruit picker and canner and fixer and gunner and root cellar and woodstove. Lucky you! I will be looking around for people like you when I emerge as a doctor. Healthcare is valuable in all times.
b_vainamoinen
Apr. 5th, 2008 02:16 pm (UTC)
He said "Whenever people start talking about recession it is usually about over".

I LOL'ed.

What a crock!

Whenever people start talking about recession, it is usually just beginning.
liveonearth
Apr. 5th, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC)
Heh. Or even, "Whenever people start talking about recession, it has been in the works for years already."
labyris
Apr. 5th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
So why is this guy your financial adviser? You actually pay him for this kind of information?
liveonearth
Apr. 5th, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
He is the nearest Edward Jones guy to my house. I make my own financial decisions. And I'm about to pull some of my investments out from under him, because he charges commissions. Still, I ask a lot of questions and learn from understanding his perspective. Whatever he tells me, I know that Edward Jones guys all over the nation are parrotting the same lines. So I do the opposite of what he recommends, staying away from the herd.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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