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December 4, 2013 / Toby Dayton

Friday’s Jobs Report Will Show That The U.S. Lost Jobs In November For First Time In Over 3 Years

Let’s begin with the indisputable fact that the nation’s already-weak labor market has been getting weaker for some time. There are a number of massive structural forces contributing to what unquestionably has been the weakest recovery from any recession since WWII. Among them are the depth and breadth of the Great Recession, continued productivity gains employers are reaping from technology, the ongoing seismic shift from a manufacturing economy to a services and information-based economy, globalization, and the accelerating deterioration of U.S. education and hence its workforce.

But while all of those are, without a doubt, significant factors, the single biggest influence on the state of the economy and the anemic jobs market that we are ALL suffering through is the insanity of the Republicans in the House of Representatives. As I described in a post on October 1st, the Austeriots (austerity-obsessed idiots) led by Ted Cruz (aka Heisenberg) have taken the country hostage and are hell-bent on dragging everyone into their suicidal death pact. It increasingly appears as if their strategy is to drive the USS Economy into a massive iceberg, sink the entire ship, and force the 99% to fend for themselves in the arctic waters of poverty and misery while the 1% escape in their G-Vs.

And at the moment, their plan is clearly working.

Between Q1 and Q3 of this year, the number of quarterly jobs gained in the U.S. economy dropped 21%, falling 12% in Q2 and another 10% in Q3. (I’m ignoring for the moment the delusional BLS data from October which I’ll get to later).

Jobs by quarter 2013 BLS data

This data perfectly matches the data we’ve seen on LinkUp’s job search engine since the beginning of the year. The chart below depicts a 50/50 blended average of new and total job openings on LinkUp each month since February of this year. Since the gain of 13% in February, the number has dropped to a decline of 7% in November.

As background, LinkUp is the largest and fastest growing job search engine on the web. Totally unique to the space, we are the only job search engine that only indexes jobs found on company websites. We currently have 1.7 million real  jobs from 40,000 corporate websites. What that means is that we have the largest search engine of the highest quality job listings on the web. Every job on LinkUp is guaranteed to be current because the index is updated every night, and there are no duplicate listings because we only index jobs from a single source – the employer’s website itself. Most importantly, we have completely eliminated the garbage that pollutes job boards and job board aggregators such as Indeed and Simplyhired. That garbage includes things like old, expired listings, job scams, work-at-home scams, lead gen garbage, fraud, identity theft, and money mule positions, for example. As a result, we deliver to job seekers (and hence employers) the best user experience and the highest quality job site on the web today. And it is the unique quality of our index that also provides us with the cleanest data set in the market with which to forecast job growth in the U.S.

Job Openings on LinkUp 2013

The raw LinkUp data for job openings by state in November, while slightly better than the numbers above, still gives ample cause for concern. (Because of our ‘paired-month’ methodology, each month gets 2 data points each for new and total job openings so November’s numbers above are compared to the average of the 2 October numbers, while the numbers in the table below use only the 2nd data point for October). In any event, November’s raw data showed no increase whatsoever in either new or total job openings.

Jobs by State - November 2013

What is disconcerting is that when you remove the temporary job listing growth due to holiday hiring (as indicated below in the Retail category), new job listings in the U.S. declined 5% in November, while total job listings declined 2%. The actual numbers are most likely even a bit worse given holiday hiring in other areas like shipping and receiving, transportation (i.e., UPS and FedEx, etc.), and other temporary positions related to the holidays.

Jobs by Category - November 2013

So no matter how you cut it, the data we’re seeing in our index paints a dismal picture for hiring in the months ahead. And looking back to September and October’s LinkUp data, we are forecasting a very negative jobs report Friday morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. First, we are predicting that October’s unbelievable gain of 204,000 jobs are just that – unbelievable. With the 6.4% decline we saw in our September LinkUp Data, we are anticipating a massive downward revision to a gain of only 65,000 jobs last month. (Keep in mind that we might not see the full revision until 30 days from now when the Employment Situation Report for December is released in early January in which the BLS will likely release a 60-day revision for October’s numbers).

If October’s numbers are as horrible as we believe them to be, we are forecasting that the economy actually lost jobs in November for the first time since September, 2010. With the 5.6% decline in new and total job listings in the LinkUp index in October, we predict that the U.S. showed a net loss of 25,000 jobs in November. And while we need another data point for November next month (the 2nd in our paired-month methodology mentioned previously), our preliminary assessment for December does not look any better with another net loss of 50,000 jobs.

November jobs forecast

So while food stamp rolls and the number of Americans living below the poverty line keep rising, while tens of millions of Americans struggle to eke out a meager existence and support their families on minimum wage, and while the long-term jobless sink into further despair, the Austeriots not only obstinately refuse, under the guise of fiscal discipline, to lift a helping hand but continue to aggressively set flame to the social safety net. Unemployment benefits are reduced, the food stamp program gets slashed, payroll taxes go up, schools crumble, tuitions get hiked, bridges collapse, cities go bankrupt, and children go to bed hungry. What a Christmas it’ll be for millions and millions and millions and millions of Americans. Think about that. Seriously – think about that for even just a few minutes. And if you need help thinking about it, read this article: Life on $7.25 an Hour.

And the worst part of what is happening in the country right now is that while all this misery and despair is crushing so many people, arguably because of it, corporate profits have reached epic levels, corporate balance sheets have never contained so much cash, and the stock market is setting record highs seemingly every week. The USS Economy may be sinking, but rest assured that those G-Vs are all fueled up and ready to go.