Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I Don't Know. What Do You Want To Do?
Employers unexpectedly cut 20,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate fell to a five-month low of 9.7 percent, suggesting some labor market improvement starting to take root.
And where would that be?
KEY POINTS: * The Labor Department said the economy lost 150,000 jobs in December, compared to 85,000 previously reported, but November was revised to a gain of 64,000, up from 4,000. Christmas help, anyone? A sharp increase in the number of people giving up looking for work helped to depress the jobless rate. The number of 'discouraged job seekers' rose to 1.1 million in January from 734,000 a year ago.
COMMENTS:DOUG ROBERTS, "It indicates a certain form of stabilization but there's not a bounce that everybody was looking for."What is throwing people off is probably the 9.7 percent unemployment rate -- the drop in the unemployment rate --, which is positive but is not coming from new jobs created its coming from people dropping out of the work force.
"It's a series of conflicting data ... The positive take is basically it wasn't a total disaster, but the flip side of it is you're not seeing a recovery."
CARY LEAHEY, ECONOMIST, "The excitement is the unexpected drop in the unemployment rate. Both hiring and the number of people looking for work rose. That increases the sense that the unemployment rate peaked a couple of months ago. You won't see much improvement in the unemployment rate for the rest of the year because more people will start looking for jobs, but it appears the unemployment rate is on, at worst, a flat path.
And she says later that...
"Payrolls lost 20,000 jobs, pretty much as expected. Revisions to the prior two months offset each other. November job growth was much better but December was much worse.
After the 25th.
"On the services side, a decrease of 48,000 jobs was led by retail trade which might be a problem of seasonal adjustments after Christmas.
"Another large gain in temporary help was positive because that eventually will lead to more gains in permanent hiring.
Tell that to the fired Temp help.
"The drop in the unemployment rate does have implications for the Fed. If the Fed sees the unemployment rate stabilizing, it's obviously closer to lifting short-term interest rates than it would be otherwise. Everyone knows the Fed will be extraordinarily unwilling to hike rates until the unemployment rate starts to move lower.
TOM SOWANICK, "The drop in the unemployment rate should be viewed in the context not that it is not a shocker but that this is the second monthly decline. The trend may now be established and that's probably why the bond market was not reacting at first and now under pressure. Was January stronger than anticipated? The answer is yes because December was much weaker.
KURT KARL, "It is an interesting set of numbers. Disappointment with the downturn in non-farm payrolls, but interesting that the unemployment rate ticked down quite substantially. It could mean some good news is coming soon. That is why the unemployment rate went down -- you had a very small increase in the labor force and a huge jump in household employment."
"We're probably still at least six to 12 months away before we start to see a strong hiring trend. At the same time today's numbers weren't far enough away from expectations to be a major (Treasury) market mover."
Can we hold on for a year? My family can't.
at 10:39 PM