Keith Hall: ‘One of the Worst’ Job Reports

Dec 5, 2008 10:41am

ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf reports from Capitol Hill: Every month when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its jobs report, there is a hearing by the Joint Economy Committee on Capitol Hill with BLS Commissioner Keith Hall.

There are rarely made-for-TV moments as Hall, a number cruncher, reads his report. That’s about it. Congressmen and Senators will try to get him to prognosticate on the market as a whole, but Hall is a jobs man and that’s all he’ll talk about.

But today — after Hall told the committee the U.S. lost 533,000 jobs in November — was an exception.


In an exchange with Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-MD, Hall said , "If I were to characterize this jobs report I would say it’s very dismal… it’s maybe one of the worst that the BLS has ever produced."

"Ever?" asked Cummings.

"Ever," replied Hall.

Cummings asked how long the BLS has been around and the answer was 124 years.

Hall compared the current recession to the 2001 recession, which he said was more centered on the tech industry and so not as hard on the economy as a whole. Jobs losses now, he said, are distributed across the entire job market and economy, which is more focused on consumer spending.

But Hall might have been overstating just a little bit. This is the sixth worst jobs report since 1929 and the worst since 1974. So its the sixth worst not counting the Great Depression.

Still not good news.

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