Friday, October 8, 2010

September Jobs Report Indicates Economy Dead in the Water

The 'Helicopter Economics Investing Guide' is meant to help educate people on how to make profitable investing choices in the current economic environment. We have coined this term to describe the current monetary and fiscal policies of the U.S. government, which involve unprecedented money printing. This is the official blog of the New York Investing meetup.

September was the 15th month with the U.S. unemployment rate was at or above 9.5%.  The underemployment rate, which includes forced part-time and some discouraged workers, rose to 17.1%. While the Great Recession supposedly ended in June 2009, well over a year later the employment figures have still failed to show any significant improvement.

Private sector hiring was tepid to say the least in September. While the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) claims that there were 64,000 private sector jobs added last month, only two categories dominated hiring - 'leisure and hospitality' and 'health care and social services'. Leisure and hospitality, which includes drinking establishments, added 38,000 jobs. It is perfectly understandable why people would want to drink more considering the state of the economy.  Health care and social services (the mainstream media always leaves out the social services part), which is the only category that continually added jobs during the recession, added 32,000 jobs. Why social service jobs are counted as private sector jobs is a of course a mystery known only to the BLS. Education jobs are also counted as private sector, even though most of them are paid for with taxpayer money. Many health care jobs are of course also government funded.

Government jobs actually counted as government jobs dropped 159,000 in September. Almost half of this was accounted for by a loss of 77,000 Census positions. Considering the Census was supposedly finished months ago, this leads to the obvious question: What have these people been doing since then? Another 76,000 jobs were lost by local government. The Obama administration's February 2009 stimulus package provided a lot of funding for localities to pay for police, fireman and teachers. This funding seems to already be running out. What will happen in 2011, when the stimulus money has been completely spent?

The economic establishment has told us that the U.S. economy has had four quarters of recovery so far and we have already in the fifth. Employment hasn't shown any recovery however. Up to now, the claim have been that this is because employment is a lagging indicator (something that only showed up in the 1990s after a number of 'adjustments' had been made to how GDP and the inflation figures were calculated). The employment lag has already been several quarters and it now looks like it is heading for several years.

Disclosure: No positions.

Daryl Montgomery
Organizer, New York Investing meetup

This posting is editorial opinion. There is no intention to endorse the purchase or sale of any security.

1 comment:


To get the economy we need more than just low wage part time job creation.