March 17, 2010

The Beat Goes On

Payrolls are still on the decline, though activity by employers in the financial sector has picked up of late.

February's job report showed declining payrolls since July of 2007, with the economy shedding another 36,000 jobs. This means that 8,180,000 people are now out of work in this downturn.

Yet, the market took this news in stride and managed even to see a glimmer of hope with a report of the moderation of the rate of loss and a steady unemployment number. Economists were predicting an even weaker number - in the 90,000 range - so the report was a positive surprise.

Even the weather was given credit for the positive, if muted, response. Severe snowstorms throughout the nation, but especially in the Northeast may have suppressed the employment picture somewhat.

The Securities Industry

The securities industry continues to slowly shed workers; reaching a new bottom in February with a loss of an additional 2,000 jobs for the month and 8,500 jobs for the new year.

Total loss since the downturn in this industry began in June of 2008 is 83,400 jobs lost or a bit over 9.5% of the workforce. The bounce from low employment numbers in September, '09 has been reversed in the last two reports.

However,

employment activities from employers, such as job postings and search activity has remained at a higher level; especially for sales producers.

Finance and Insurance

The broader sector of financial employers; including banks, securities and insurance, continued to meander south, as well.

Nearly a half of a million workers have lost jobs in this sector since January 2007 and another 32,000 have joined the roles in just the last three months. This means this sector is at employment strength of a bit over 5.6 million works; a level not seen since May 2000.

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Jeff Testerman is vice president of www.BrokerHunter.com.

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