If you still needed confirmation this is the slowest economic recovery in history, you need look no further than today's (Tuesday's) September jobs report.
Total non-farm employment in the United States rose 148,000 in September, a soft number well short of the 180,000 expected. The unemployment rate itself fell to 7.2% - the lowest it's been since U.S. President Barack Obama took office.Here's why we're skeptical of the latest jobs report...
July Jobs Report Confirms These Major Problems with U.S. Employment
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.
June Jobs Report: Beware Underemployment and Underground Economy
According to the June jobs report, the economy added 195,000 jobs last month, on par with the revised pace in May. Economists were looking for 165,000, and a dip in unemployment to 7.5%.
Despite the gains, the unemployment rate remained at 7.6% because more people hit the pavement looking for jobs--making it all the more difficult for job seekers.
Paychecks grew at a modest pace and have managed to beat (government-reported) inflation in the past year. Average hourly pay increased $0.10 to $24.01, up 2.2% from a year ago. Meanwhile, over the 12 months ending in May, consumer prices ticked higher by just 1.4%.
Today's May Jobs Report: When Bad News is Good News
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.Â Â
April Employment Report Begins to Show the Signs of the "Obamacare Effect"
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...
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.
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 CapitalismHere's how I see things. The "Whitewash Ministry" has basically five options:
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
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.