Welcome to 1945…
The market was expecting the worst in the government’s latest monthly employment report and it was not disappointed. “Job losses were large and widespread across most major industry sectors,” the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
The U.S. economy lost 524,000 jobs in December, closing out the worst year for job attrition since World War II, according to the BLS. Total job losses for 2008: 2.6 million, the largest decline since 2.750 million jobs were lost in 1945. A 16-year high. Congratulations, folks….
Suffice to say, that’s quite a bit more than some economists were expecting. And that’s an ugly, ugly number, 2.750 million jobs lost. With the national unemployment rate rising to 7.2 percent during December, the first quarter of 2009 is also looking pretty bleak. “The job situation is ugly and is going to get uglier,” Richard Yamarone, chief economist at Argus Research, told Reuters. “There’s no reason to expect hiring anytime in the next three to six months. We are not going to see any hiring until the government steps in and acts. Talk doesn’t work.”
Robert Barbera, chief economist at the Investment Technology Group, was even more pessimistic–if that’s possible. “I would suspect that starting this past October and lasting through April, we will have really big job losses,” he told The New York Times. “We are not yet near the numbers of those earlier recessions,” he added, referring to the downturns of the mid-’70s and early ’80s, “but five more months like what we have been having and we’ll be there.”