Saturday, 4 April 2009

US employment, services contract

Friday brought another weak report on US employment. Bloomberg reports:

The economy lost 663,000 jobs in March, bringing losses since the slump began to about 5.1 million, the worst in the postwar era, Labor Department figures showed in Washington. The 8.5 percent jobless rate was consistent with the forecasts of 79 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News...

Revisions subtracted 86,000 workers from January payrolls while February’s drop of 651,000 was not revised.

It doesn't help that US service sector activity contracted again in March.

The ISM’s services index, which covers almost 90 percent of the economy, fell to 40.8, the lowest level of the year, from 41.6 the prior month, according to the Tempe, Arizona-based group. Readings below 50 signal contraction.

But elsewhere, the eurozone services index rose from 39.2 in February to 40.9 in March, exceeding the preliminary estimate of 40.1, while the UK services PMI rose to 45.5 in March from 43.2.

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