Where are those jobs?

February 6th, 2004 – 8:44 pm
Tagged as: Uncategorized

You may have seen a story on your local news (or in your local newspaper) that seemed to be reporting the newest drop in the unemployment rate as good news. Things aren’t that simple though:

The U.S. economy created just 112,000 new jobs in January, far fewer than expected, government data showed on Friday, in a disappointing report that will weigh on President Bush’s re-election campaign.

The fifth straight monthly gain in non-farm payrolls followed a revised increase of 16,000 new jobs in December, the Labor Department said. The unemployment rate ticked down to 5.6 percent, the lowest since January 2002, from 5.7 percent the previous month – but those numbers are taken from a separate, smaller, survey.

Analysts had been expecting the improving economy to create 150,000 new jobs in January. They were looking for the unemployment rate to hold steady at 5.7 percent.

Many of the new jobs came from a 76,000 increase in the retail sector. But analysts had said before the report that a seasonal adjustment quirk would be the main reason for such a rise. They said there would be a gain because retailers took on fewer employees than expected in the holiday shopping months, which would mean that according to the seasonal adjustments in the report there would be fewer layoffs in January.

There are two important point in that. First, only 112,000 new jobs were created, which was less than expected, and far less than had been promised in the rosy numbers bandied about by the Bush administration to justify their big tax cuts for the wealthy. Second, a big reason the unemployment number dropped was that the retailers hired less people before Christmas, so there are less people getting laid off by the retailers now.

So, in reality, it’s not really very good news after all.

No Comments

» RSS feed for comments on this post

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.