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Jobs Report Turns Tables on Traditional Retail Havens


The lower than expected jobs numbers that the Bureau of Labor Statistics released last week could signal a trend more disturbing than a potential rise in unemployment.

Find out why.

With 40% of Americans One Bill Away from Financial Disaster, What's Next?


Despite hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout money and U.S. Federal Reserve stimulus, the U.S. economy is still not working very well for the average American.

According to a survey by, 40% of Americans say they are just one big bill away from financial disaster. That tells Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald that the government's efforts to rescue the U.S. economy have failed.

He said there's one figure he's watching this week that will show if there's much hope for Main Street at this point...

Gallup CEO Just Outted Government's False Unemployment Rate

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The government's official unemployment rate is "a Big Lie," according to Jim Clifton, the CEO of 80-year old analytics firm Gallup. In a Feb. 3 op-ed, Clifton slammed the White House, Wall Street, and the media for celebrating about how unemployment is "down" to 5.7%.

Of course, here at Money Morning, we've called the "official" unemployment numbers cooked all along.

It's a good thing that Clifton is onboard with us - the more the merrier.

We want Americans to know there's a reason why they haven't "felt the recovery." Check out this breakdown...

Beware the Strange Data in the September Jobs Report

Boy scratches his head in puzzlement or confusion

The September jobs report, delayed for weeks because of the government shutdown, is not at all what anyone expected. Not only did the headline number of 148,000 jobs fall far short of expectations but a lot of the underlying numbers just don't quite add up.

Here's why we're skeptical of the latest jobs report...

July Jobs Report Confirms These Major Problems with U.S. Employment

Blue Tie

The July jobs report brings the total number of part-time jobs created this year to more than three times the amount of full-time jobs added.

Welcome to America: Land of part-timers...

The trend was pronounced in June when data revealed part-time jobs grew by a robust 360,000 and full-time jobs declined by 240,000. Friday's July jobs report was further proof.

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June Jobs Report: Beware Underemployment and Underground Economy

Food Turkey

June jobs report doesn't look so bad, until you see the real story – like the amount of underemployed and dangerous underground economy growth…

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You can Figure out When the Fed Might Start Tapering

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Although you might think the markets simply respond any time Ben Bernanke sneezes, his "cold cycle" is not one of the indicators that will spell the slowing

and eventual cessation of the printing press at the Fed.

There actually is a mathematical formula used by the Federal Reserve to determine when to stop the presses.

I could give you the formula and it would look like this:

POP2 = [1-(%POP) m*m] *POP1.

Or, I could share the link to the Federal Reserve's Jobs Calculator in Atlanta.

This is the same calculator used by the Fed to determine when the jobs market and the unemployment rate will align properly. And when they do, it will signal to the Federal Reserve that it might be a good time to start tapering its $85 billion a month bond buying program.

This is what needs to happen: The economy will have to show new job growth.

The Fed is looking for the creation of 150,000 to 200,000 new jobs each month for 6 months. This is how we look now:

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Today's May Jobs Report: When Bad News is Good News

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When bad news is good news for stock markets you know just how convoluted the current economic environment is.

According to the May jobs report out today (Friday), the U.S. unemployment rate ticked up to 7.6% in May from 7.5% in April, the first increase since the start of 2013. And, markets rallied on the news. The Dow Jones soared more than 200 points by mid-day.

Some will say the May jobs report was good news - thousands of out-of-work people returned to the work force, and the 175,000 jobs added beat expectations.

The reality is we're just treading water. And the labor force participation rate is still at 30-year lows.

But the real good news is the jobs report means more U.S. Federal Reserve support, which will fuel markets already hitting record highs.  

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April Employment Report Begins to Show the Signs of the "Obamacare Effect"

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Economists breathed a sigh of relief when the Labor Department reported a better than expected April employment report on Friday, but the details show cracks still remain.

Many of the job gains proved to be in lower paying fields and the average number of hours worked dipped.

In fact, April's report revealed the average workweek for private sector employees declined 0.2 hour to 34.4 hours.

The data also suggests The Affordable Health Care Act, aka Obamacare, is already having an impact on hiring since job growth has slowed most significantly among businesses with 50-499 employees.

This could be the reason why...

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January 2013 Jobs Report: 4 Reasons Unemployment Will Stay High


The U.S. Labor Department released the January 2013 jobs report Friday, showing the unemployment rate inched upward from 7.8% to 7.9%.

Employers added 157,000 jobs in January, short estimates of 168,000, which would have kept the unemployment rate stable.

The jobs report included some good news: Revisions to last year's data, customary in January, show the U.S. added 335,000 more jobs than initially reported in 2012, bringing the monthly average for jobs gained to 181,000 from the 153,000 initially reported.

Employment gains for November and December were revised higher by a total of 127,000.

Contributing most to January payroll increases were the retail, construction and healthcare sectors. The government continued to shed workers, a trend that began four years ago.

But the employment outlook remains bleak. Joblessness has proved persistent, with the unemployment rate stuck above an unhealthy 7% for more than four years.

"The good news is that January's employment gains, coupled with large revisions to the prior months, may translate into more consumer spending power. The bad news is that unemployment remains stubbornly high," said Kathy Bostjanic, director of macroeconomics analysis at the Conference Board.

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Five Savvy Ways to Conquer the Wall of Worry

If you like extreme risk and consider living on the edge to be "normal," today's column isn't for you.

Today I'm writing to the millions of investors who are completely terrified by the prospect of what's next and who simply want their faith restored - not to mention their investments.

To all of them I would say: You are not alone and you're not wrong to be apprehensive.

Our political situation is an embarrassing train wreck, our national debt looks like a one way trip to financial hell, housing remains in the dungeon, unemployment is unacceptably high and Europe...oh Europe.

It's nothing short of a gigantic wall of worry.

Plus, there have been so many attempts to "fix" things that I've lost count. Throwing good money after bad is a fool's game and one that will have very real and inevitable consequences.

So what should investors do?

The Fed's War on Capitalism

Here's how I see things. The "Whitewash Ministry" has basically five options:

  1. Repression
  2. Devaluation
  3. Austerity
  4. Deflation
  5. Inflation
You can forget the double "d's" - devaluation and deflation.

Even though both would be the proper way for free markets to bleed out the excesses of the past, they are essentially political nukes and nobody has the willpower to touch either one of them.

The third, austerity, is being tried but only halfheartedly. Our leaders have no idea what this actually means. Since they remain completely unaccountable, there is no true incentive.

Besides, large numbers of people have figured out it's easier to be on the dole than it is to actually work, so this is another disincentive for meaningful cuts in spending.

As for inflation, this too is officially a non-starter as long as interest rates are held near zero. Unofficially, it's a different story. Most investors I know are feeling the heat of 12% to 15% a year in their wallets.

That leaves option number one - repression.

You can call it what you want, but repression is really a fancy way of saying that our government is conducting punitive monetary policy.

While they mouth off about how they want to create jobs and take care of the middle class, in reality they're eviscerating it.


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State of the Union Excerpts Outline Speech Focused on Income Inequality, Job Creation

According to excerpts released by the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver an ambitious speech when he addresses the nation at 9 p.m. ET today (Tuesday) in the annual State of the Union. His plans for 2012 will focus on job creation, rebuilding the middle class, U.S. government spending, and tax reform. State […]

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U.S. Jobs Market 2011: Are You Worried About Your Job?

The U.S. jobs market finally showed signs of improvement last month after the unemployment rate dropped to 9.4%. That was down from 9.8% in November and represented the first real change in any direction in months, the U.S. Labor Department reported last week.

In fact, that decline pushed the national jobless rate down to its lowest level in 19 months, and created the first sense of optimism in more than a year.

Some analysts think December's numbers represent a sea change in the U.S. jobs market, and will mark the start of sustained improvement. They cite increasing job listings in 2010, rising corporate profits in 2011 and upward revisions of previous unemployment reports as reasons the job market pain could finally be subsiding.

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What to Expect on Wall Street as Nervous Investors Navigate a Slowing Economic Recovery

Wall Street was hit hard last week with gloomy data that has kept buying interest stalled and investors spooked over a slow economic recovery.

Stocks slipped over the past week after investors learned from government reports that jobs are getting scarcer than straw hats in a wind tunnel, and it isn't always sunny in Philadelphia. 

The big-cap indexes lost around 1%, while safe haven assets like gold and the U.S. dollar were buoyant. The best investment around for the week was the U.S. long bond, up 2%.


To read what’s in store after last week’s gloomy data, click here

Slight Job Gains Won't Shrink the High Unemployment Rate

Employment reports released this week show mixed results, but lead to the same conclusion: The high unemployment rate isn't improving any time soon.

U.S. private-sector jobs last month grew by only 42,000, according to a report issued yesterday (Wednesday) by payrolls processor Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADP). ADP revised the number of jobs added in June to 19,000 from 13,000, which fell far short of economists' predictions of 39,000.

The ADP report "shows continued weakness in the jobs market, which is in part caused by the uncertainty in the economy and general business climate," said Gary Butler, ADP's chief executive, in a statement. "American businesses are on the cusp of recovery, but more effective incentives are needed to encourage business investment resulting in the creation of more jobs."

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