Follow us:

Jon Talton

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

May 3, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Vote: How’s hiring at your workplace?

Job growth picked up in April, with the economy adding 165,000 new jobs. Still, the unemployment rate barely budged downward and the length of the average workweek actually declined from 34.6 to 34.4. (Here’s the report in charts). Economist Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute called this “a substantial drop that is not a good sign for future hiring.” And although the number of jobs created was above that needed to keep up with the natural growth of the labor force, Shierholz said that at the growth rate seen this year — around 196,000 jobs a month — “it will take more than five years to return to the prerecession unemployment rate.” For high-school graduates, the economy keeps getting worse.

Economist Dean Baker dug deeper into the report, labeling the composition of the jobs created “disturbing”:

More than a fifth of the added jobs (34,600) were in employment services. Restaurant employment accounted for 38,000 jobs and the retail sector added 29,300. These three sectors accounted for more than half of April job growth. Health care added 19,000 jobs, a bit less than its 25,000 average over the last year.

Jobs were lost in construction and government. Local and state governments have shed 224,000 jobs over the past year. Manufacturing employment was flat. “One disturbing item in the household data was a 1.0 percentage point drop in the share of unemployment due to voluntary quits. This is the sharpest fall since February of 2009 and could be an indication of less confidence in the job market.” Also, “there is zero evidence that the prolonged period of high unemployment is due to a lack of skills of the workforce.”

What are you seeing at your workplace?

Read on for the best links of the week and the haiku:

This Week’s Links:

Corporate jet center exposes Silicon Valley’s class divide | NY Times

Apple and other corporations keep profits out of the reach of taxes | NY Times

Self-defeating austerity shocks | Vox

More services mean longer recoveries | Berkeley Blog

CEO-to-worker pay ratio ballooned 1,000 percent since 1950, report says | Huffington Post

The systemic plight of labor | Felix Salmon/Reuters

Six ways to separate lies from statistics | Bloomberg

Investigators target JPMorgan’s ‘misleading schemes’ in energy | NY Times

Food stamp recipients by county interactive tool | Slate

New to Twitter: @WarrenBuffett

Today’s Econ Haiku:

NBA back stab

That’s what monopolies do

Twirl your Stern moustache





Comments | More in Jobs/Unemployment


No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.

NOTE TO READERS Some users, for example Century Link customers, may not be able to see comments at the moment. We’re aware of the problem and looking for a solution. We apologize for the disruption.

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►