At first blush, the employmet report released on Friday stated that unemployment FELL from 10% to 9.7%. Our President, who LOVES to take credit when NONE is due, was first to proclaim that HIS policies were working! Readers of "Marko's Take" know that all such proclamations from the current administration should be treated as highly suspect and the hour long "back patting" session did not disappoint.
The jobless rate fell to 9.7% from 10% in December, the Labor Department said Friday, because its survey of households found more people landed jobs than entered or returned to the labor market. However, a separate survey of employers, which counts how many workers are added or cut from payrolls, found that 20,000 jobs were eliminated last month. And revisions to last year's data found far more jobs were lost over the 12 months than previously predicted.
Annual revisions to the payrolls data showed job losses since the recession began were much deeper than originally thought. The economy has lost 8.4 million jobs since December 2007, compared with 7.2 million before the revisions. In January, the number of "discouraged job seekers" stood at 1.1 million, up from 734,000 a year ago. Last month, 6.3 million people had been out of work for more than 27 weeks.
Analysts expect U.S. payrolls to start growing in February as the government steps up temporary hiring for the 2010 census. Thankfully, we have BIG BROTHER as the employer of last resort!
The myriad of "seasonal adjustments" make it extremely difficult to look further below the surface until more data begins to be revealed - but suffice it to say that the "good news", as reported on Friday, was tepid at best. We expect the increase in unemployment to resume its downward trajectory as the economy begins its trip towards its inevitable second dip.