Net Job Losses Occur Beyond the Official “End” of Recession

On September 20, 2010, the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) issued a press release that said, “The committee determined that a trough in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in June 2009. The trough marks the end of the recession that began in December 2007 and the beginning of an expansion. The recession lasted 18 months, which makes it the longest of any recession since World War II. Previously the longest postwar recessions were those of 1973-75 and 1981-82, both of which lasted 16 months.”

Did you breathe a sigh of relief when you first heard that news?

Because the criteria for determining a recession includes a variety of factors, it is possible for a downturn to continue to take a toll beyond the trough. That was certainly the case with Colorado employment in the past two recessions.

Seasonally adjusted employment data for the 2007 recession show that Colorado experienced net job losses of 113,800 workers, from peak to trough. Between July 2009 and August 2010, job losses have occurred in 10 of 13 months. Post-trough job losses have totaled 41,800 workers to-date and may go higher.

By comparison, the 2001 recession lasted from March to November. During that period, net job losses were 42,500 employees. Post-trough declines occurred in 15 of 20 months and totaled 60,600 workers.

In summary, there was a drop of over 100,000 jobs associated with the 2001 recession; to-date over 155,000 employees have been shed as a result of the 2007 recession. That is a significant decrease for a state that employs 2.2 million workers.

Looking forward, we can only hope that the expansion cited by the NBER is strong enough to include employment growth for Colorado in 2011.

©Copyright 2011 by CBER.

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