August’s nonfarm employment growth was exceptional (365,000), partly because of workers’ return after the General Motors strike. Despite this headline statistic, however, there is increasing evidence that labor market growth is slowing. Removing the effects of the GM strike, the goods-producing sector has added only 4,000 jobs over the last eight months. In recent months, the number of industries showing employment growth has declined markedly. The current diffusion index for nonfarm payrolls shows that only 58% of detailed industries experienced employment gains over a three-month period, versus 72% as recently as December 1997.
Suggested citation: “Labor Markets,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Trends, no. 98-09, pp. 11, 09.01.1998.