Payroll Employment: Best Years, Worst Month

One of the dumbest comments I saw this morning was from Douglas Holtz-Eakin who wrote “Disaster in August jobs!”

Really? Was this a “disaster”? I’m sure Holtz-Easkin wrote “disaster” in 1984 when payroll employment only increased 128 thousand in one month (on the way to almost 3.9 million for the year). Or “DISASTER” (all caps) in 1983 when payroll jobs plunged 308 thousand one month (on the way to almost 3.5 million for the year).

Or how about in 1997 when the economy lost 39 thousand jobs one month (on the way to 3.4 million jobs added for the year)?

For fun, below is a table of the best years for job growth since 1980 with the worst month of the year.  Obviously there is a significant amount of volatility in the employment report.

If the August report was a “jobs disaster” then there is a “disaster” every year!  It would be important if this is the start of lower employment reports, but I think that is very unlikely.

Note 1: Job growth was stronger in the ’80s and ’90s when the prime working age population was growing quickly.  This decade the prime working age population has actually declined, so we should expect as much job growth, see: Demographics: Prime Working-Age Population Growing Again

Note 2: I’ve called out Holtz-Eakin before.  He voted to ban ‘the phrases “Wall Street” and “shadow banking” and also the words “interconnection” and “deregulation” from’ the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commissiom report!  Oh my …

Non-Farm Payroll: Best Years, Worst Month
Year Annual (000s) Worst Month (000s)
1984 3,880 128
1994 3,851 200
1983 3,458 -308
1997 3,408 -39
1988 3,242 94
1999 3,177 107
1987 3,153 171
1998 3,047 124
1996 2,825 -18
1993 2,817 -49
2014 2,5851 142
2005 2,506 67
1985 2,502 124
2013 2,331 84
2012 2,236 88
1995 2,159 -16
2006 2,085 2
2011 2,083 70
2004 2,033 32
12014 is the hiring pace through August.

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