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Raining on her sister’s parade . . .


Economics is like a beautiful woman:  just enough science to be satisfying and just enough art to be mystifying.  I’ve been chasing her and courting her all my life!

Politics is her older, ugly sister, who talks constantly and is married to a rich know-it-all.  She’s been chasing all of us.  And, she is getting faster!

The first Friday of each month should be a day of beauty, because we see the most closely-watched economic numbers of that month, i.e., the “Jobs Report,” which is released at precisely 8:30 AM.  It is always fascinating to see which sectors and industries are doing better or worse.  It is important to look at the changes between unemployed and underemployed.  It is mystifying to look at the different insights from the statistical techniques employed.  I just enjoy the company of that beautiful lady!

Unfortunately, at 8:31 AM, the older, ugly sister opens her mouth and rains on her sister’s parade.

Today, we learned 146 thousand jobs were created last month, about 66 thousand more than expected.  Expectations were below last month’s report of 136 thousand, because the impact of SuperStorm Sandy was expected to be greater.  The unemployment rate was expected to rise from 7.9% to 8.0%.  Instead, it fell to 7.7%, which is good news.

The bad news is that the Jobs Reports for September and October were over-stated by a combined 49 thousand jobs, which sounds like today’s extra jobs created were rolled forward over the last two months.  More worrisome is that the Labor Force Participation Rate dropped, meaning about 300 thousand people stopped looking for a job last month.

Overall, it was a good report.  In fact, it was too good.  I don’t believe SuperStorm Sandy had no impact on the most densely-populated jobs market in the country.  We’ll see what happens in two weeks when states provide their individual Jobs Reports.  But, make no mistake:  the jobs market is improving, albeit very slowly!

Of course, at precisely 8:31 AM, the ugly sister started yakking — Democrats took credit for the continuing recovery in the jobs market and took credit for their hard work in controlling the damage from SuperStorm Sandy.  And – surprise, surprise — Republicans asserted the larger number of jobs reported in the September and October reports were skewed higher just for political purposes, plus the slow growth rate in jobs was just further proof that high income taxpayers need to pay less tax in order to create new jobs.

Is there any way to make the ugly, older sister just shut-up??

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