An explanation of the September unemployment rate and the effect the so-called fiscal cliff could have on credit union performance are the highlights of the NCUA’s October economic video update, released by the regulator Monday.
NCUA Chief Economist John Worth opened the video with good news about the economy, but added that recovery continues to be slow, and “important risks are looming.”
Compared to a year ago, Worth said, the economy has picked up 1.8 million jobs overall and about 1.9 million private sector jobs. In September, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.8%, its lowest level since January 2009.
The economist acknowledged the controversy surrounding the unemployment figure, in which conservatives accused the Bureau of Labor Statistics of tampering with the numbers to benefit President Obama’s reelection bid.
Worth explained the difference between the two surveys that contribute to employment statistics – the payroll survey, in which employers are asked about jobs, and the household survey, in which 60,000 households are asked about employment – and how those differences in coverage can produce different results.
Worth said the fiscal cliff, which would result from a large increase in taxes and spending cuts scheduled to take place in 2013, is also expected to take a dramatic toll on the economy, if it occurs.
The video notes that credit union performance would likely worsen as the economy contracted and unemployment rose as a result of these changes. Credit unions with ties to the federal government could be affected even more significantly.
The video is available on NCUA’s official YouTube channel.