The Jobs Market Outlook
This is sort of a follow-up on James’ post on the unemployment figures. The 243,000 new payroll jobs is a pretty decent number as I’ve pointed out before, but for things to be considered really good such growth would be pretty much constant. That is we’d like to see the average number of new payroll jobs around 200,000 to 250,000. We aren’t currently seeing this.
On the other hand, getting one’s underwear in a knot over an increase of 8,000 in the number of jobless claims filed with the Dept. of Labor also strikes me as mild hysteria. Right now the economy looks to be in pretty good shape over all. In isn’t perfect, but then again, when has perfection ever occurred in the economy?
Also, a really honest thing for Reuters to do would be to do something like get the unemployment claims from the last recession and look at those and maybe shock…gasp calculate and average there. Doing such research would tell the reporter that during 2001 and 2002 the average number of jobless claims filed each week was 404,000 (seasonally adjusted). That is about 101,000 more claims than we have seen this last week. Even better is to look at a graph of the data.
Here we see that Reuters is basically getting its underwear in a knot over a slight uptick in the data. Where the heck was Reuters back on 12/10/2005 when the jobless claims hit 331,000 (seasonally adjusted)?
Bottom line is that the jobs market is okay and Reuters in engaged in either stupid reporting or biased reporting (or even both).