The audacity of the Obama Administration to spin a systemic unemployment problem is nothing short of Orwellian. "Good news is good news". "Bad news is good news"! Is this the Audacity of Hope?
This morning, the closely watched jobs report came out. The Labor Department, which carried out its surveys at the same time that the snowstorms battered the East Coast, said in a report today that non-farm payrolls fell by 36,000 compared with a revised 26,000 drop in January.
While to most people, including all of us at Marko's Take, losing jobs AGAIN would seem like bad news.
But we don't live in Washington, D.C. where it's more important to "beat the spread" than to win.
Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires were expecting payrolls to fall by 75,000, mainly because of the severe weather. So, the loss of "only" 36,000 jobs was a WIN! The January figure was revised from an originally reported 20,000 decline.
While jobs were LOST, the unemployment rate went DOWN! The unemployment rate, which is calculated using a different household survey, remained at 9.7% last month. Economists had forecast the jobless rate would edge higher to 9.8%.
A major factor in the "great" jobs number was care of Uncle Sam. Employment fell in construction and information, while temporary help services added jobs. Total government employment fell by 18,000, but that is mostly due to a decline in state and local jobs. The FEDERAL work force grew by 7,000, helped by an influx of Census workers along with the addition of 15,000 temporary workers!
Since December 2007, the start of the worst U.S. recession in decades, payroll employment has fallen by 8.4 million. So, what's another 36,000 jobs lost, unless, of course, you're one of those folks that are now jobless!
The White House continues to BLAME THE WEATHER!
Dr. Williams of ShadowStats (http://www.shadowstats.com/) has a far less sanguine view of the jobs situation than da boyz in D.C. According to Dr. Williams, "the weekly new claims for unemployment insurance numbers appears to have stabilized well off its peak at around an average of 470,000 per week, a level last seen as the current economic downturn was formally underway in early 2008."
Dr. Williams goes further on to say that "there has been some flattening out in activity, where a certain layer of layoffs has tended to run its course. Layoffs should start to rise again in the next couple of months. On the offsetting hiring side, the Conference Board’s seasonally-adjusted January help-wanted advertising (newspapers) was unchanged month-to-month at 10, while the seasonally-adjusted help-wanted advertising (online) declined".
So, this "great" jobs report (sarcasm intentional!) is likely to prove to be temporary, and as the second Dip of the Double-Dip-Depression takes its grip on the economy, the unemployment rate is likely to resume its rise. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but we just tell it like it is!
Think we're in a recovery? Think the jobs news was really good news? TAKE ME ON!
Episode 4 of our new YouTube series will be posted shortly. You can access it here: http://www.youtube.com/markostaketv. We are planning 5 more episodes in the near future and will publish a schedule of upcoming segments all based on Marko's Take. I hope you've had a chance to tune in and leave comments!