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By Jason Stipp | 09-04-2009 10:12 AM

Job Market Getting Back to Work

Our take on the stronger and weaker job sectors, trends in part-time work, and what some under-the-radar data is telling us about the recovery.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp with Morningstar. The government released its unemployment rate for August. It did tick up to 9.7%, with 216,000 jobs lost, what some may characterize as a mixed-bag report from the government. But we're going to dig behind those numbers today.

Joining me is Bob Johnson, he's Morningstar's associate director of economic analysis, and Vishnu Lekraj, he covers the employment sector for Morningstar. Thanks for joining me again, guys.

Bob Johnson: Thanks.

Vishnu Lekraj: Thanks.

Stipp: OK. So we've been seeing a trend that's a positive trend in the number of jobs lost over the last few months. In June, we saw 463,000 jobs lost was the revised number; July, 276,000; and then 216,000 for August, which is a direction that we'd like to see as far as the job losses go. But the unemployment rate did tick up, from 9.4 to 9.7%. So what's behind that difference? It seems like they should move in the same direction, but they're not. What's behind that, Bob?

Johnson: On the unemployment situation, one of the things that always happens, employment's a real lagging indicator. One of the reasons is because as the job market actually starts to get better, people that were discouraged that may have gone back to school may have said, "You know what? I'm staying home with the kids for a while," decide that the market looks better and start looking for work. And so that increases the unemployed number and increases the rate artificially.

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