US jobs, auto sales still below pre-Crisis levels

US autos, jobs Sept12.pngThe above 2 charts show US jobs and car sales on a monthly basis, side by side. They cover the years 2008 – 12, and the combination provides a clear message about demand trends:

• The jobs total began to improve in 2011 (green line)
• They rose 2m between January 2011 and last month (red square)
• Auto volumes have similarly gained over the period
• August sales were up 200k last month versus 2011

Over the past 20 months, job gains have averaged 141k/month. Auto sales this year are so far up 15% versus last year.

This is encouraging news, as clearly the numbers are heading in the right direction. But set against the unprecedented activity of the US Federal Reserve, the results are very disappointing.

It has cut nterest rates to zero, and supplied $2.3tn of liquidity into the banking system. Yet the number of jobs is still 4.7m below 2008 levels. Likely auto sales this year of 14m are similarly well below the 16m+ levels seen before the crisis.

As the blog will discuss on Thursday, it thus seems increasingly clear that central banks on their own cannot solve today’s crisis.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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