Job losses caused by the Great Recession

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Many jobs have been lost worldwide since the start of the Great Recession. In the US, job losses have been going on since December 2007, and it accelerated drastically starting in September 2008 following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.[1] By February 2010, the American economy was reported to be more shaky than the economy of Canada. Many service industries (particularly in countries that either have the same unemployment rate as the United States or greater) have reported dropping their prices in order to maximize profit margins (looking to make use of any price elasticity of demand in their market segments). This is an era in which employment is becoming unstable, and in which being either underemployed or unemployed is a common part of life for many people.

Net job gains and losses by month[edit]

United States[edit]

Percent of US civilian working age population employed, 1995–2012
  • September 2008 – 432,000 jobs lost
  • October 2008 – 489,000 jobs lost
  • November 2008 – 803,000 jobs lost
  • December 2008 – 661,000 jobs lost[2]
  • January 2009 – 818,000 jobs lost
  • February 2009 – 724,000 jobs lost
  • March 2009 – 799,000 jobs lost
  • April 2009 – 692,000 jobs lost
  • May 2009 – 361,000 jobs lost
  • June 2009 – 482,000 jobs lost
  • July 2009 – 339,000 jobs lost
  • August 2009 – 231,000 jobs lost
  • September 2009 – 199,000 jobs lost
  • October 2009 – 202,000 jobs lost[3]
  • November 2009 - 64,000 jobs created[4]
  • December 2009 - 109,000 jobs lost[4]
  • January 2010 - 40,000 jobs lost[4]
  • February 2010 - 35,000 jobs lost
  • March 2010 - 189,000 jobs created
  • April 2010 - 239,000 jobs created
  • May 2010 - 516,000 jobs created
  • June 2010 - 167,000 jobs lost
  • July 2010 - 58,000 jobs lost (143,000 Federal Census jobs lost) [5]
  • August 2010 - 51,000 jobs lost
  • September 2010 - 27,000 jobs lost (According to U.S. Labor Department, 64,000 private sector jobs are added but a net loss of 95,000 jobs are due to government layoffs) [6][7]
  • October 2010 - 220,000 jobs created (Private sector jobs net increase)
  • November 2010 - 121,000 jobs created
  • December 2010 - 120,000 jobs created
  • January 2011 - 110,000 jobs created
  • February 2011 - 220,000 jobs created
  • March 2011 - 246,000 jobs created
  • April 2011 - 251,000 jobs created
  • May 2011 - 54,000 jobs created
  • June 2011 - 84,000 jobs created
  • July 2011 - 96,000 jobs created
  • August 2011 - 85,000 jobs created
  • September 2011 - 202,000 jobs created
  • October 2011 - 112,000 jobs created
  • November 2011 - 157,000 jobs created
  • December 2011 - 223,000 jobs created
  • January 2012 - 275,000 jobs created
  • February 2012 - 259,000 jobs created
  • March 2012 - 143,000 jobs created
  • April 2012 - 68,000 jobs created
  • May 2012 - 87,000 jobs created
  • June 2012 - 45,000 jobs created
  • July 2012 - 181,000 jobs created
  • August 2012 - 142,000 jobs created
  • September 2012 - 114,000 jobs created
  • 2008 (September 2008 – December 2008) – 2.6 million jobs lost
  • 2009 (January 2009 – December 2009) – 4.2 million jobs lost[8]
  • 2010 (January 2010-December 2010) - 863,000 jobs created

Note: Job losses in June and July 2010 are largely attributed to US census worker jobs lost. Private sector jobs have increased during those months.

  • Current unemployment rate (as of September 2012) : 7.8%

Since the start of the recession, 8.8 million jobs have been lost, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.[9]

In the U.S., jobs paying between $14 and $21 per hour made up about 60% those lost during the recession, but such mid-wage jobs have comprised only about 27% of jobs gained during the recovery through mid-2012. In contrast, lower-paying jobs constituted about 58% of the jobs regained.[10]

Canada[edit]

Drastic job loss in Canada started later than in the US. Some months in 2008 had job growth, such as September, while others such as July had losses. Due to the collapse of the American car industry at the same time as a strong Canadian dollar achieved parity +10% against a poorly-performing US dollar, the cross-border manufacturing industry has been disproportionately affected throughout.[11]

  • September 2008 – No net loss
  • October 2008 – No net loss
  • November 2008 – 71,000 jobs lost[12]
  • December 2008 – 34,000 jobs lost
  • January 2009 – 129,000 jobs lost
  • February 2009 – 82,600 jobs lost[13]
  • March 2009 – 61,300 jobs lost
  • April 2009 – No net loss (1)
  • May 2009 – 36,000 jobs lost
  • October 2009 – 43,200 jobs lost
  • December 2009 - 28,300 jobs lost[14]
  • January 2010 - 43,000 jobs created[15]
  • February 2010 - 21,000 jobs created[16]
  • March 2010 - 17,900 jobs created[17]
  • April 2010 - 109,000 jobs created[18]
  • May 2010 - 25,000 jobs created[19]
  • June 2010 - 20,000 jobs created[20]
  • September 2010 - 6,600 jobs lost[21]
  • October 2010 - 47,000 jobs created[22]
  • December 2010 - 22,000 jobs created

(1) 37,000 jobs are gained in the self-employment category[23]

While job creation has increased in the past three months, most Canadians still complain about people getting laid off from work. However, a growing amount of these layoffs are considered for seasonal purposes and has little or no relation to the recession. Excluding Stelco employees, most laid off workers have six months to acquire a job while collecting unemployment insurance. After that, they must go on welfare and continue their job search from there.

  • May 2009 Canadian unemployment rate: 8.4%
  • September 2009 Canadian unemployment rate: 8.7%
  • November 2009 Canadian unemployment rate: 8.6%[24]
  • January 2010 Canadian unemployment rate: 8.3%
  • May 2010 Canadian unemployment rate: 8.1%
  • June 2010 Canadian unemployment rate: 8.1%[15]
  • September 2010 Canadian unemployment rate: 8.0%[21]
  • October 2010 Canadian unemployment rate: 7.9%[22]
  • November 2010 Canadian unemployment rate: 7.6%[25]

The unemployment rate has been stabilized between 8.0% and 11.0% for the past two years; signifying the economic strength of Canada's financial institutions compared to its counterparts in the United States. Many job places in Canada (i.e., grocery stores and restaurants) have opted to reduce hours rather than lay off staff. This element of job protection is especially in industries that are needed to keep the economy from going into a depression. While the automotive sector is slowly recalling workers back to work, grocery stores and restaurants have slashed hours in the face of the global recession.

Australia[edit]

  • September 2008 – 2,200 jobs created
  • October 2008 – 34,300 jobs created
  • November 2008 – 15,600 jobs lost
  • December 2008 – 1,200 jobs lost
  • January 2009 – 1,200 jobs created
  • February 2009 – 1,800 jobs created
  • March 2009 – 34,700 jobs lost
  • April 2009 – 27,300 jobs created
  • May 2009 – 1,700 jobs lost
  • June 2009 – 21,400 jobs lost
  • July 2009 – 32,200 jobs created
  • August 2009 – 27,100 jobs lost
  • September 2009 – 40,600 jobs created
  • October 2009 – 24,500 jobs created

April 2009 Australian unemployment rate: 5.5%[26]
July 2009 Australian unemployment rate: 5.8%[27]
August 2009 Australian unemployment rate: 5.8%[28]
September 2009 Australian unemployment rate: 5.7%[29]
October 2009 Australian unemployment rate: 5.8%[30]

The unemployment rate for October rose slightly due to population growth and other factors leading to 35,000 people looking for work, even though 24,500 jobs were created.

In general, throughout the subdued economic growth caused by the recession in the rest of the world, Australian employers have elected to cut working hours rather than fire employees, in recognition of the skill shortage caused by the resources boom.

United Kingdom[edit]

In September 2007, approximately a year before the recession began, unemployment stood at 1,649,000.[31]By the end of 2008, that figure had risen to 1,860,000 - an increase of 211,000 and nearly 13%.[32]By March 2009, unemployment had increased to more than 2,000,000 - the highest level the nation had seen for more than 12 years.[33]It reached 2,261,000 by June that year,[34]and by April 2010 had exceeded 2,500,000 for the first time in 16 years.[35]

Confounding variables in determining cause and effect[edit]

The causality linking job losses to reduced business revenue is obviously grounded in reality, at least to a large extent. After all, it is self-evident that a firm with one million dollars in annual revenue cannot pay a two-million-dollar annual payroll without going into either debt or bankruptcy. However, at least some of the apparent or alleged causality is difficult to confirm quantitatively, because the data collection and analysis that would be required to do so faces high barriers to implementation, principally the privacy surrounding the accountancy. There is a common theme among working people,[36] although it is not widely studied or reported in reliable academic or journalistic sources, along the lines that firms are "using the recession as an excuse" for staff reductions whose true root causes lie elsewhere, such as:

  • Productivity increases that would have happened anyway, recession or no (via ever-improving software and networks, for example, or via business process reengineering)
  • Offshoring disguised as layoffs in higher-wage countries happening "coincidentally" with hiring in lower-wage countries
  • Firing disguised as layoff (redundancy), where the motive for firing varies, including poor performance, low productivity, or even improper termination, but the employer benefits from not having to justify or document the job loss as a firing

This theme also extends to compensation reduction or growth freezes, with the suspicion again being that the recession is an excuse for, e.g., wage raise freezes, wage cuts, or increasing the employees' contribution percentage for (or lowering the benefits of) company health insurance, company retirement plans, and so on.

It is very difficult to accurately detect, verify, or track the data that would be needed to test these hypotheses. Short of any outright auditing (which has no legally justifiable basis), firms have a fair amount of plausible deniability. As for the concern that productivity growth drives unemployment, the very idea is controversial, and it depends on whatever the true reality may be in the relationship of automation to unemployment. Certainly a pattern of multiple jobless recoveries, where GDP grows while employment stagnates, makes the public wonder about firms' assurances that all layoffs are necessitated by business conditions alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Unemployment Spike – September 2008". Laidoffnation.com. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  2. ^ ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/suppl/empsit.cpseea1.txt
  3. ^ "US unemployment rate eases to 10%". BBC News. 2009-12-04. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  4. ^ a b c Fox, Justin (2010-01-08). "Payroll employment down 85,000 in December, unemployment steady at 10% - The Curious Capitalist - TIME.com". Curiouscapitalist.blogs.time.com. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  5. ^ "US sees 131,000 jobs lost in July". BBC News. 2010-08-06. 
  6. ^ Lahart, Justin (2010-10-07). "Companies Shed Jobs Last Month, ADP Says". The Wall Street Journal. 
  7. ^ Lahart, Justin (2010-10-09). "Job Losses Increase Pressure on Fed". The Wall Street Journal. 
  8. ^ "News - World - U.S. December job losses rise". B92. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  9. ^ "Employment Situation Summary". Bls.gov. 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  10. ^ "Low wage jobs are dominating the U.S. recovery" Washington Post, August 31, 2012
  11. ^ Hill, Bert (2009-11-06). "Ottawa unemployment rate up to 5.4 per cent". Ottawacitizen.com. Retrieved 2010-01-21. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Massive job losses hit Canada, U.S - December 5, 2008". Canada.com. 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  13. ^ Financial Post Published: Friday, March 13, 2009 (2009-03-13). "Unemployment rate rises to 7.7% on 82,000 job losses". Financial Post. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  14. ^ "Canadian unemployment". Hrmguide.net. 2010-04-09. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  15. ^ a b "Latest release from the Labour Force Survey - February 2010". Statcan.gc.ca. 2010-04-09. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  16. ^ "Loonie soars on jobs report - March 12, 2010". News.ca.msn.com. 2010-03-12. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  17. ^ Canadian, The (2010-04-09). "Jobless rate remains at 8.2%". News.ca.msn.com. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  18. ^ Canadian, The (2010-05-31). "109000 fewer jobless people in Canada". Baystreet.money.ca.msn.com. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  19. ^ Canadian, The (2010-06-04). "25000 fewer jobless people in Canada". Economic Times India. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  20. ^ Canadian, The (2010-07-02). "20000 fewer jobless people in Canada". Canada.com. Retrieved 2010-07-04. 
  21. ^ a b Canadian Unemployment Rate At 8.0% October 9 2010
  22. ^ a b Unemployment rate dips to 7.9% November 5, 2010
  23. ^ Julian Beltrame THE CANADIAN PRESS (2009-06-03). "Experts predict bleak job numbers tomorrow". Toronto: thestar.com. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  24. ^ [1][dead link]
  25. ^ Latest release from the Labour Force Survey. Statistics Canada. Accessed 2010-12-05.
  26. ^ "6202.0 – Labour Force, Australia, April 2009". Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  27. ^ "6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, December 2009". Abs.gov.au. 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  28. ^ "6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, August 2009". Abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  29. ^ "6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, September 2009". Abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  30. ^ [2][dead link]
  31. ^ "Pay rising as unemployment falls". BBC News. 2007-09-12. 
  32. ^ "Unemployment increases by 137,000". BBC News. 2008-12-17. 
  33. ^ "Unemployment passes two million". BBC News. 2009-03-18. 
  34. ^ "UK jobless total at 12-year high". BBC News. 2009-06-17. 
  35. ^ "UK unemployment increases to 2.5m". BBC News. 2010-04-21. 
  36. ^ Hinted at by the many [informal/colloquial] online discussions found by web searches such as "using the recession as an excuse to lay off".