ECONOMY WATCH….The headline unemployment rate hasn’t changed much over the past few months, but other employment indicators are considerably less rosy:
Last month, the hours worked by those on American payrolls dropped, compared with six months earlier, according to an index maintained by the Labor Department. The last time the index moved into negative territory was February 2001, when the economy was on the doorstep of recession. A similar slide emerged in August 1990, one month into what proved an even more severe downturn.
….At the end of last month, more than 4.9 million people were working part time either because they could not find full-time jobs or because their companies had cut hours in the face of slack business, according to a Labor Department survey. That represented an increase of 400,000 since November.
And on Wednesday, the government reported that average earnings slipped in March after accounting for the rising costs of food and fuel — the sixth consecutive month that pay failed to keep pace with inflation.
Employment is declining, average hours worked is declining, and average earnings per hour is declining. On the bright side, Google earnings are up. Yippee!