Friday, January 8, 2010

Look For the Silver Lining

The latest jobs report came out today, and says it was disappointing "[b]ut there was a small glimmer of hope as well."

That glimmer of hope? "The payroll number for November was revised to a net gain of 4,000 jobs. That's the first increase in jobs in nearly two years. The government had previously indicated that 11,000 jobs were lost in November."

At that rate, we'll make up the ground that has been lost since the recession began by, oh, 2218. Of course, that doesn't allow for the jobs that will be made necessary by population growth in the next two centuries.

Some of the more optimistic economic forecasters expected job growth to return, but, as Neil Irwin reports in the Washington Post, "the economic recovery still is too weak to lead employers to add to their payrolls."

Nevertheless, Irwin, like many of those who like to make excuses for the Obama administration and the Democrat–controlled Congress, readily shares his with the readers.

"Part of the job losses may have been due to colder–than–usual weather; construction employment fell by 53,000 jobs, more than in recent months, and that sector is more sensitive than most to the weather."

Hmmm. Well, I don't know what the weather is — or was — like where you are. Yes, it was cold in December. It always is. But I don't recall it being as cold in December here in Dallas as it is today. As I write this, the current temperature in Dallas is 17° (wind chill is 1°).

Will the weather be the scapegoat next month as well? If so, maybe that is an indicator of just how fragile everything really is.

"One positive sign is that the number of temporary jobs rose by 47,000 jobs. Employers, it would seem, are reluctant to add permanent workers, but — faced with higher demand for their products — have little choice but to bring on temps. That could presage broader job creation in the future."

Seems to me the most telling statement in Irwin's article comes at the end:

"A broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who are working part time but would prefer a full–time job and those who have given up looking for work out of frustration, edged up to 17.3 percent, from 17.2 percent."

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