Most people know that private sector jobs have been increasing, although recently at a slower rate than expected.
The question is where new jobs are going to come from. In order to get a clear picture, we need to figure out how jobs have been lost. The Business Employment Dynamics (BED) survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has some good data, though it is only quarterly and updated through September 2009. The y axis for the below charts are in thousands of people.
The drop in job creation has occurred due to fewer expanding companies.
The main source of job losses has come from company downsizing as opposed to a spike in bankruptcies.
The BLS’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey gives more recent data (Up to April), and sheds a little more light on where the job losses are coming from. Job gains have occurred because separations have trended downwards, while hiring has only picked up marginally.
Job opening data is a little bit more optimistic.
However, the data for separations is a little less optimistic, the overall job picture is only looking good because people aren’t quitting their jobs at a normal rate. If quits were at normal levels then the private sector would be losing jobs.
All of these charts would look a little bit different if looked at in the rate space, since the population has been increasing the numbers would all look a little less significant. On a ten or twenty year basis, looking at levels isn’t going to skew the results by more than 10%, but when looking at time frames over a fifty year period, using levels rather than percentages significantly exaggerates the situation.