The September U.S. jobs report, the second to last before Election 2012, is expected to show 110,000 jobs added for the month - but there's a chance it could be much uglier.
First, the weekly initial jobless claims out today (Thursday) increased 4,000 to 367,000 for the week ended Sept. 29. Never a good lead in to a jobs report.
Second, the ADP jobs report released Wednesday showed the private sector added 162,000 jobs in September, less than the 189,000 added in August. ADP's report is often skewed to the upside compared to the government's employment numbers.
Data shows that between April and August, ADP estimated nearly 50,000 more private sector jobs were added per month than the government report (widely viewed as more accurate).
But in August, ADP's number overshot the government's by a hefty 98,000.
Equally disturbing is that the number of jobs being added (according to government figures) is nowhere near what is considered healthy. Just to keep up with population growth, our economy needs to add at least 125,000 jobs every month.
At that pace, it would take at least four more years for the U.S. job market to fully recover from the Great Recession.
"We're not going anywhere quickly in the jobs market," Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody's Analytics, Inc., told Bloomberg News. "The job market is just more of the same. Layoffs aren't the big problem, it's the lack of hiring."
The number of jobs employers added in August was an uninspiring 96,000, a steep decline from July's 141,000.
And while the unemployment rate eked down to 8.1% from 8.3% the previous month, it was for all the wrong reasons.
Many discouraged Americans have given up looking for a job. Plus, more young adults are prolonging their education in attempts to avert entering a very difficult job market.
And with the following factors, 2013 looks to get even worse.