WTF Headline of the Day: “Jobs Data Show Hopeful Sign”

Today’s WTF headline is courtesy of the WSJ: Jobs Data Show Hopeful Sign, Though Economy Still Ails:

Employers cut jobs in April for the fourth month in a row, but the small size of the drop — 20,000 jobs — and a dip in the unemployment rate offered a tentative sign that the U.S. economy might be escaping a deep recession.

Despite the better-than-expected news, the economy is not healthy. Car sales hit their lowest level in nearly a decade in April, while the fall in home prices is accelerating and consumers are feeling the pain of higher food and energy bills. The decline in the unemployment rate to 5% from 5.1% reflects an increase in part-time jobs. The number of workers with full-time jobs declined.

The U.S. economy needs to add 100,000 jobs a month to keep up with population growth. "You can’t lose jobs on a continual basis and have the kind of growth in the economy that you want," said Lehman Brothers economist Drew Matus. He predicted shrinking payrolls for the rest of this year.

Here’s the accompanying video:

"I am impressed that the economy is improving overall"

I disagree with everything Tig Gilliam sez, except for his comments about high skilled technical workers. I don’t want to tell you what we just paid to hire a very good software architect (big number). And, I consider us lucky to have found him . . .

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Source:
Jobs Data Show Hopeful Sign, Though Economy Still Ails
Employment Falls, But Not as Quickly; Mr. Crooks’s Hunt
SUDEEP REDDY and KRIS MAHER
WSJ, May 3, 2008; Page A1
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120973101930762571.html

Re: WSJ  — Thanks for the updates

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on May 3

    They hit the good stuff last night. Added jobs in construction? LOL! The Blackbox Birth/Death model BS strikes again, and everyone just takes it as fact. When I refer to society, this is why I use the term Sheeple.

    “It’s hard to get a man to understand something when his job depends on him not understanding it.”

    And so it goes further down the rabbit hole.

  2. Tony commented on May 3

    Spectre,
    Great quote!! Who is it attributed to??
    Tony

  3. Ross commented on May 3

    Mauldin did an excellent job on the GDP and employment releases. He gives Sir Barry a hat tip as well…

    Spectre, I suspect the ‘sheeple’ are catching on to the con. These are mostly day to day working folks that don’t have time or the inclination to parse BLS reports like we do. They ‘feel’ it as in 60+% surveyed believe we are in a recession.

  4. me commented on May 3

    “The U.S. economy needs to add 100,000 jobs a month to keep up with population growth.”

    So now that there are more Americans than ever, why did the jobs/month needed drop from 150,000 to 100,000. They must get this made up shit from Faux Nuze.

  5. John Borchers commented on May 3

    It’s all a scam by our gov’t and I have totally had it. This would be such a quick turndown if they just let the stockmarket fall quick and fast. Instead they wish to put disaster upon us.

    Friday I recommended buying oil and I had actually bought $100K of oil contracts for Jan 09 myself which I will hold.

    What I said Fri is starting to come true. If you are a bear and our sick of gov’t intervention driving up our stock market tell them by buying oil. Oil was up 3.4% Friday. Many reasons for this:

    1) If the economy is actually good oil can and will go higher.
    2) People have wrongly shorted oil after the Fed meeting put fear into the market.
    3) People held Gold through the depression but today Black Gold has more value during a crisis than gold itself. People need it to drive and heat homes. People can live easily without gold but not so easily without oil.

    Gov’t is lying again by saying no one is speculating in it. Problem is people are buying oil to hold it in inventory around the world. People are beginning to hoard oil and other things.

  6. RW commented on May 3

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it” is attributed to the novelist and polemicist Upton Sinclair (1878-1968)

    Among other things he wrote The Jungle and its description of corruption (both literal and figurative) in the meat packing industry was so livid it led to serious reform of food regulation.

    He also said things like, “The private control of credit is the modern form of slavery” and “Fascism is capitalism plus murder.”

    A tough-minded man who knew capitalism would poison itself and everything around it if left to its own devices; in brief a real progressive back in the days when that meant something more than feeling faint in the presence of injustice.

  7. Rich Shinnick commented on May 3

    Kudlow called Bush the “Forecaster of the Year!” No recession, just a “soft patch” and the economy is going to “come on” in the next few months.

    The checks are in the mail. Tell your kids, “Kids, Mommy and Daddy are getting a check from the government that you will have to pay back when you are adults. Do you want to go get some ice cream?”

    I am a Republican but I am embarassed by this check mailing scheme which has nothing to do with fundamentals-but you might see some temporary “health.”

    As for the jobs number, it is a political number. A little unemployment is not necessarily a bad thing in an inflationary environment…but it is politically deadly. In fact, I believe most economists will tell you that 5-6% unemployment is healthy as long as states have fairly good benefifts in place, etc..

    Anyone see the dichotomy between an economy that is supposedly being saved by exports, profits that are being saved by a weak dollar gain, and pundits who call for a strong dollar? Do we really believe we can have it both ways?

  8. Danny commented on May 3

    Upton Sinclair was a self admitted Socialist not a ‘progressive’.

    The problem is that right now, just about every politician is a ‘progressive’, but is actually a socialist.

    And if you think government control of credit via the Fed is better than private control of credit, let’s just take a look where that has led us now.

  9. SC commented on May 3

    Nope, not able to see the entire WSJ post without a subscription.

  10. Chester White commented on May 3

    I can’t see the WSJ article either, except down to the words “part-time” in the 2nd paragraph.

  11. bdg123 commented on May 3

    When the real economy cratered nearly a decade ago, all of those IT resources ran to Wall Street and finance firms to work on creating the Frankenfinance we now see. In due time, there will be plenty of software resources at your disposal. Unfortunately. One of the largest software and consulting companies on the planet is seeing its consulting bench swell with unused resources in one of the largest IT markets in the US. The bench is now up to 35%. And, when Frankenfinance really implodes………

  12. RW commented on May 3

    Danny: From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upton_Sinclair

    Of his gubernatorial bids, Sinclair remarked in 1951: “The American People will take Socialism, but they won’t take the label. I certainly proved it in the case of EPIC. Running on the Socialist ticket I got 60,000 votes, and running on the slogan to ‘End Poverty in California’ I got 879,000. I think we simply have to recognize the fact that our enemies have succeeded in spreading the Big Lie. There is no use attacking it by a front attack, it is much better to out-flank them.”

    Do I like the results of a deregulated and government enabled financial industry? Nope. Do I think we’d be better off with government out of the way entirely leaving large corporations as the de facto government? Nope squared: They wouldn’t even bother delivering shaded statistics — gathering and compiling data even with the intent to skew it isn’t cost effective — we’d just get the big lie appropriately sugar-coated and suitably presented by a glossy model with a rebate offer.

    “No man is more a slave than he who thinks himself free where he is not.”
    – Goethe

  13. Winston Munn commented on May 3

    But hey, it’s a bull market in the pawnbroking business!

    The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

    “Over at Carver W. Reed & Co., a pawnshop at 10th and Sansom Streets since Lincoln was president, more and more higher-echelon people are filing in, owner Tod Gordon said.

    ‘The upper middle class is feeling the crunch like never before,’ he said. ‘They’re bringing in diamonds and gold to pay for margin calls on stocks. There’s a feeling of despair.

    ‘These people are used to paying their bills, no problem. Now it’s a whole new world. They’re struggling. So maybe they won’t go on vacation this summer, and they’ll pawn jewelry to fix the roof.'”

    So I guess now we know where all those tax rebate checks will end up….but the oddity is that these were the same people who used to be able to ride out a mild downturn on bank loans and credit cards…and use their HELOC to fix the roof…

  14. Dan Mellis commented on May 3

    Question: Can someone without a WSJ subscription please tell me if you can access the full column with this link: Jobs Data Show Hopeful Sign

    No, I can only read the first 1 1/2 paragraphs.

  15. PeterR commented on May 3

    Ditto re WSJ — only the first couple of paragraphs +/- show up.

  16. jagmohan Swain commented on May 3

    Jobs number continues to paint the same picture.Lay offs happen in a big scale when recessions are not widely anticipated and business managers widely overshoot the business cycle peak by bumping their production and hence piling up on inventory.4 months into recession lay offs continue to be muted because of limited scope in production cut since inventories are lean and employment lacks the flab they usually have at prior business cycle peak.We are as far as production and employment situation goes are at that phase of business cycle that resembles a trough in business cycle not peak.Govt stimulus will take us through two quarters and Fed cut will take us through rest of the year.So it’s looking rosy.

    Armageddon scenario has been bought widely based on the enormous debt creation thanks largely to housing bubble.

  17. AGG commented on May 3

    RW,
    Thank you for that thought provoking comment. You are absolutely right. I wish to add that we have some very smart prevaricators in government who know that people need to be sold continuously on the lie because reality keeps impinging on the lie. That said, they wish to lie as cheaply as possible. Your mentioning of the “cost effective” approach to economy statistcs is particularly important. They first convince you that a shortcut method (hedonics, weightng, birth/death, voter polling, etc) is scientific (the majic word for accurate). Next they gradually replace huge staffs of grunt workers with a few shills and some computers. hence the fantasy becomes automated (cheap) and the liars well rewarded.
    We need a house cleaning in the BLS.

  18. ac commented on May 3

    Interesting, looking at the 2001 recession the payroll months intially:
    2001: January 289,000
    February 135,000
    March 86000
    April -223,000
    May 0
    June -43000

    the headline UE rate was 4.2%,4.2%,4.2%,4.3%,4.4%,4.6%

    Pretty typical. Having 4 months straight of negative results is not a good sign. Usually the big 300-400 loss job reports aren’t going to happen intially to late in the cycle. The headline UE rate is acting strange. big surge, pullback, another big surge. If it had gone 4.7%,4.8%,4.9%,5.0% through the first 4 months, I doubt anybody will be hyping a “fall” in the headline rate.

    Each recession has its own way.

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