9/02/2009

About 300,000 jobs lost in August

A positive spin continues to be put on the job loss numbers. There is one month were the numbers were twice what they are here, but that is the benchmark being used.

The pace of U.S. job losses slowed last month, a report released Wednesday showed, but the small improvement suggests a return to job growth could still be many months away.

Service-sector employment declined by 146,000 in August while goods-producing jobs including construction and manufacturing fell by 152,000, according to Automatic Data Processing Inc., a payroll firm.

The combined loss of 298,000 jobs was an improvement from July's revised drop of 360,000 and was less than half the pace of declines seen earlier this year.

Meanwhile, revised figures showed worker productivity was even stronger than initially reported during the spring, growing at a 6.6% annualized rate, though it resulted from companies' cutting workers or their hours.

"If you're a worker you don't really want to see productivity growing for the reasons it did in the second quarter," said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc., a New York-based consulting firm. . . .

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