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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

July 2, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Take this job and cut it: The scary shedding of American work continues

Top of the News: Yet more evidence that we’re far from the end of this recession and may not even be on the bottom comes in the June jobless report. A worse-than-expected 467,000 net positions were eliminated, raising the national unemployment rate to 9.5 percent (and remember, this is the “official” rate, with real joblessness being 16.5 percent or higher).

For some perspective, check out this chart from Calculated Risk. It compares job losses among the major post-World War II recessions — and the current unpleasantness shows some disturbing trends.

First, in percentage terms this recession has caused falling employment worse than anything since the 1948 recession, which was driven by demobilization from the war. Second, the decline shows no sign of a turnaround.

Indeed, the hopeful deceleration of losses in May seems to have been a fluke, and the unemployment decline is continuing with speed. Admittedly, it’s hard to draw complete conclusions from one month’s snapshot — but the entire photo album so far has been bleak.

Somebody, however, is doing all right: The Wall Street Journal reports that big pay packages are returning to Wall Street.

The Back Story: Mortgage troubles haven’t gone away — they’ve merely spread out beyond subprime. That’s one lesson from a report by the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Seriously delinquent mortgages and those in foreclosure increased in the first quarter. Serious delinquencies among prime mortgages rose 20 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008 to reach 2.9 percent of all prime mortgages. It was 1.1 percent a year ago.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

A CEO strike

Might have kept the Dreamliner

From being delayed

Comments | More in Housing, Jobs/Unemployment

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