Jobs down, economic recovery tepid

The US employment report released Friday, Oct. 8, shows some people found jobs, but fewer people have jobs. Huh? Turns out that local governments laid off more people - mostly teachers and cops - than got hired by the private sector.

Jim Prisching / AP / File
In this Oct. 5, 2010 photograph, job seekers browse through information at a jobs fair sponsored by Scott Lee Cohen, Independent Candidate for Governor of Illinois, in Rockford, Ill. A wave of government layoffs in September outpaced weak hiring in the private sector, pushing down the nation's payrolls by a net total of 95,000 jobs.

What's there to say about today's U.S. employment report? The best way to describe it is "mediocre". It indicates that the U.S. economy grew, but at a very slow pace.

The strong part was found in the household survey, which showed an increase in employment by 141,000. That's not much compared to much other countries given how big America is, and it is barely enough to compensate for population growth, but is much stronger than the payroll survey which showed a contraction in the total number of employed.

The payroll survey is a lot weaker. Even excluding Census workers, the number of people employed fell slightly, as a slight increase in private sector employment was overshadowed by a slightly bigger drop in government employment.

Meanwhile, weekly and hourly earnings were flat in nominal terms, something which likely means a drop in real terms as consumer prices likely rose.

Looking forward, the revival in money supply growth that I will discuss more in a later post will provide support, but this will be counteracted by the looming tax increases that are scheduled for January.


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