The famous fat lady sang this morning, and, thankfully, didn’t sing anything surprising. The rate of unemployment remained constant at 9.6%, instead of increasing to 9.7% as expected.
Total non-farm jobs decreased by 95 thousand, far better than the 600-700 thousand monthly decreases we saw last year but way below the 250 thousand a month increases that we need. Tragically, 6.1 MILLION people have been out of work for six months or more. If job growth were 250 thousand monthly, it would still take over two years to get them back to work, and that doesn’t count the millions unemployed less than six months or those millions who have quit looking. This is one of two major reasons I’ve forecast a long, slow recovery.
Private sector jobs were up 64 thousand and is probably the most important number released today. This is slightly better than the expected 55-58 thousand.
Government jobs decreased 159 thousand, which were mostly census jobs. Except for this, there would have been actual job growth last month.
Because the numbers were close to expectations, the market didn’t react nor over-react. Whew . . . ! Of course, Friday afternoons are notariously unpredictable.