August 2011, Vol. 134, No. 8
Labor month in review
The August Review
Summer youth employment
Real average hourly earnings
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Labor month in review from past issues
This issue of the Review kicks off with the 2011 installment from the Bureauís Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) program. BLS economists Katherine Bauer Klemmer and Robert Lazaneo examine JOLTS data to take a close look at how job openings, hires, and separations have fared since the 2007–2009 recessionary period through the end of 2010. Job openings, which can be considered an indicator of labor demand, increased modestly during the period after reaching a series low in July 2009. Hires, which can be thought of as a measure of worker flows, followed the same pattern and increased modestly through the end of 2010 after reaching a series low in October 2009. Separations, also thought of as a measure of worker flows, decreased slightly. The authorís examination of these data provides insights into how employers react to changes in the business cycle and, arguably, affords additional evidence of the importance of data from the JOLTS program as business cycle indicators.
Another source of information on employer behaviors during business cycle changes is the Bureauís Business Employment Dynamics (BED) program. BED data measure gross job gains resulting from opening and expanding private sector business establishments and gross job losses resulting from closing and contracting establishments. The BED program tabulates the data by industry and by firm size (number of employees). In their article, BLS economists Caryn N. Bruyere, Guy L. Podgornik, and James R. Spletzer examine the underlying dynamics of the employment losses sustained during the 2007–2009 recession. The authors also include a comparative analysis of BED and JOLTS data and conclude that BED data on gross job gains and gross job losses and JOLTS data on hires and separations exhibit similar business cycle properties. The paper concludes that the two data series complement each other and add to our understanding of employment dynamics during recessions.
Finally this month, in our Regional Reports department, Maggie C. Woodward reviews the rates of unemployment during the 2000–2010 period among the different labor market areas (LMAs) in the United States. The author finds that, prior to the 2007–2009 recession, metropolitan areas (areas with populations of at least 50,000) had unemployment rates that were 0.4 percentage point lower, on average, than micropolitan areas (areas with populations of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000) rates. However, during the recession, unemployment rates increased for all types of LMA and were about the same for all areas by 2010.
Real average hourly earnings for all employees fell 0.1 percent from June to July, seasonally adjusted, BLS reported this month. For the 12-month period from July 2010 to July 2011, real average hourly earnings fell 1.3 percent, seasonally adjusted. The full news release can be found online at www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/realer_08182011.pdf. Additional information is available from the Current Employment Statistics program at www.bls.gov/ces.
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