The chart below shows payroll tax collections through March 2009. They are expressed as a percentage change from the same month in the prior year.
As compared to the same quarter in the prior year, 2008 Q4 payroll tax collections fell 4 percent. As compared to the same quarter in the prior year, 2009 Q1 payroll tax collections fell 8 percent. This is one indicator that the contraction of payroll spending in Q4 continued at about same pace in Q1.