Friday, April 3, 2009

Jobs Jamboree Friday

It's A Jobs Jamboree Friday! But before we go there... Let's recap this week's employment numbers leading up to the Jobs Jamboree, eh? First we had the ADP report show 742K jobs were lost in March... Then yesterday we had the Weekly Initial Jobless Claims show that 669K new claims were filed, and that the previous week's 630K figure was revised up to 672K... What's really scary here folks is that the 4-week moving average is now up to 649.5K... All the King's Men and all the King's Horses that believe the Humpty Dumpty economy will be recovering by the end of this year, might want to look over those forecasts and come clean on what they really think, not what the Gov't wants them to say, to make it look like everything will be right on the night, because... These unemployment numbers are not shaping up to be anything close to a recovering economy!

There is not much good news in the March employment report, and that is not surprising. Payrolls fell 663,000. That was in-line with an expected 650,000 decline.

There were widespread losses by employment category. Education and health care managed an 8,000 increase, but manufacturing dropped 161,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate shot to 8.5% from 8.1%. It is now already well above the average 8.1% average for 2009 as forecast in the Obama budget presented just weeks ago. The trend in employment suggests that the projected deficit is thus already no longer operative.

The other components of the release also reflected weakness. The average workweek fell 0.1 to 33.2 hours. The workweek tends to lead payroll changes, as employers adjust hours before payrolls.

The manufacturing workweek fell 0.2 to 39.3. This suggests a significant reduction in industrial production in March.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.2%. The year-over-year change is 3.4%.

The data can be considered about as expected, but are also clearly very weak. The market has been anticipating an improved economic environment, and payrolls lag demand, so the degree to which this undermines the recent optimism is uncertain.

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