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January 7, 2010 / Toby Dayton

December Jobs Report Will Be Far Worse Than Expected

The Department of Labor will release its jobs report for December tomorrow, and the data will undoubtedly show that the economy is a long way from healthy recovery mode. Economists are expecting that the U.S. economy actually added jobs during the month, marking the first monthly job gains since December of 2007. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which rose again in December, adds a faint glimmer of hope that this might be the case.

Not a chance.

If LinkUp’s data is any indication, the U.S. economy is still on life support and job growth remains a mirage. LinkUp, a job search engine that only indexes job listings that are found exclusively from over 20,000 corporate websites around the U.S., released its December jobs report today and the news is grim. Job listings on company websites in the LinkUp index dropped by 108,837 (24%) from November. Total job listings on company websites dropped by 142,641 (17%).

Job listing declines were widespread throughout the country, with 44 states (45 including Washington, D.C.) reporting fewer new job openings on company websites than the previous month and only 5 states reporting an increase. Total job listings dropped in 40 states (41 including Washington, D.C.), with only 8 states reporting an increase in December.

December Job Growth by State

LinkUp, the fastest growing job search engine on the web, indexes job listings from over 20,000 corporate and employer websites throughout the U.S. Because the index is updated daily and only includes job listings that are found on career portals within company websites, the completely unique jobs data is extremely reliable. There are no jobs from recruiters, headhunters, search firms or staffing companies, and no scam jobs, phishing jobs, or other fraudulent postings. And because LInkUp only indexes jobs from a single source – the hiring company itself – there are no duplicate listings that pollute job board aggregator sites such as Indeed and Simplyhired.

December Jobs Report - Best & Worst States

In terms of the best and worst performing states, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Vermont showed the largest increases in new job listings (though the gains were still anemic), while California, Texas, and New York reported the largest declines in new job listings.

15 Comments

  1. Martin Langeveld / Jan 7 2010 12:08 pm

    The problem with this data is that since LinkUp wasn't around in December 2008, you don't know what the seasonal pattern is. Normally, recruitment slows down in December – people don't quit jobs as much, and employers wait till after the holidays to start the recruitment process. Lots of recruiters take vacations in December. So I doubt if this means anything. It's probably a normal dip.

  2. Martin Langeveld / Jan 7 2010 6:08 pm

    The problem with this data is that since LinkUp wasn’t around in December 2008, you don’t know what the seasonal pattern is. Normally, recruitment slows down in December – people don’t quit jobs as much, and employers wait till after the holidays to start the recruitment process. Lots of recruiters take vacations in December. So I doubt if this means anything. It’s probably a normal dip.

  3. Toby Dayton / Jan 7 2010 2:06 pm

    Martin,

    Thanks for your comment. LinkUp has actually been around for years, and JobDig, which owns and operates LinkUp, was founded in 2000, so we are well aware of the seasonality to the job and recruitment advertising market.

    Having said that, I would agree that some of the downturn could be the result of fewer companies hiring due to seasonality rather than continued weakness in the economy, but regardless of what is causing the downturn, the point is that companies are posting fewer job openings to their corporate websites. That makes it far less likely that the U.S. economy experienced a net increase in jobs created during the month as most economists expect. And that was the point of my post and what I read from the LinkUp data – that employers are not starting to hire again in the robust way that many economists seem to think they are.

    Unemployment may actually go down again in December despite a monthly decline in jobs, but this would be due to the flawed way in which our nation's unemployment rate is calculated. If people stop looking for work because of the holidays or general discouragement, they are not counted as unemployed.

    We'll see what comes out tomorrow, but my guess is that the U.S. lost more jobs in December.

    Toby

    • Martin Langeveld / Jan 7 2010 2:21 pm

      Did LinkUp publish comparable information for December 2008? Is there a multi-year trend line for this data? I could not find it on the site.

  4. Toby Dayton / Jan 7 2010 8:06 pm

    Martin,

    Thanks for your comment. LinkUp has actually been around for years, and JobDig, which owns and operates LinkUp, was founded in 2000, so we are well aware of the seasonality to the job and recruitment advertising market.

    Having said that, I would agree that some of the downturn could be the result of fewer companies hiring due to seasonality rather than continued weakness in the economy, but regardless of what is causing the downturn, the point is that companies are posting fewer job openings to their corporate websites. That makes it far less likely that the U.S. economy experienced a net increase in jobs created during the month as most economists expect. And that was the point of my post and what I read from the LinkUp data – that employers are not starting to hire again in the robust way that many economists seem to think they are.

    Unemployment may actually go down again in December despite a monthly decline in jobs, but this would be due to the flawed way in which our nation’s unemployment rate is calculated. If people stop looking for work because of the holidays or general discouragement, they are not counted as unemployed.

    We’ll see what comes out tomorrow, but my guess is that the U.S. lost more jobs in December.

    Toby

    • Martin Langeveld / Jan 7 2010 8:21 pm

      Did LinkUp publish comparable information for December 2008? Is there a multi-year trend line for this data? I could not find it on the site.

  5. Toby Dayton / Jan 7 2010 3:19 pm

    Martin,

    We did publish information last year, but year-over-year comparisons are challenging because we are indexing so many more companies than we did a year ago. The information from last December can be found at

    http://blogs.jobdig.com/diggings/2009/01/05/dec

    But you'll notice that we were indexing approximately 4,000 fewer companies then than we are today.

    Toby

  6. Toby Dayton / Jan 7 2010 9:19 pm

    Martin,

    We did publish information last year, but year-over-year comparisons are challenging because we are indexing so many more companies than we did a year ago. The information from last December can be found at

    http://blogs.jobdig.com/diggings/2009/01/05/december-jobs-report-is-grim-delaware-and-maryland-show-strength/

    But you’ll notice that we were indexing approximately 4,000 fewer companies then than we are today.

    Toby

  7. Martin Langeveld / Jan 9 2010 12:08 pm

    Well, you were correct on this, congrats.
    Maybe my optimism stems from living in Vermont, which should be booming, judging by the growth you show (but I realize the sample size in Vermont is too small to be meaningful),.

  8. Martin Langeveld / Jan 9 2010 6:08 pm

    Well, you were correct on this, congrats.
    Maybe my optimism stems from living in Vermont, which should be booming, judging by the growth you show (but I realize the sample size in Vermont is too small to be meaningful),.

  9. Martin Langeveld / Jan 9 2010 6:08 pm

    Well, you were correct on this, congrats.
    Maybe my optimism stems from living in Vermont, which should be booming, judging by the growth you show (but I realize the sample size in Vermont is too small to be meaningful),.

Trackbacks

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