Last week when the Jobs Reports for December 2010 came out, I was a bit skeptical:
But you will pardon me if I'm a bit skeptical about this wonderful news. December is a time when there are a lot of short term hires due to the holiday season. I assume that ADP does make some adjustment for the seasonal factor and while 297K new jobs is definitely a good start, as I (and others) have noted recently, even if those jobs are something more than short term, minimum wage positions for the holidays, the odds are good that a lot of them are of the Perma-Temp fashion, with limited to no benefits. So I guess I'm going to hold off on the cheerleading the report.
Well, today (January 13) Initial Jobless Claims Report seems to bear out my skepticism. From CNN:
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The number of Americans filing for their first week of unemployment benefits jumped sharply last week, two weeks after hitting a 2-1/2 year low below 400,000.
There were 445,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Jan. 8, the Labor Department said in a weekly report Thursday.
That's up 35,000 from a revised 410,000 the previous week -- when jobless claims climbed back above 400,000 after falling below that mark for the first time in more than two years.
Last week's rise was bigger than expected. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast initial claims to edge up to 415,000 in the latest report.
Of course, Economists were "surprised" at the news. What else is new. Economists are always surprised. I guess they missed the article from the AP yesterday (via MSNBC) that employers were posting fewer jobs in November.
Of course, the Federal Reserve is still in ostrich mode. From Reuters yesterday:
The Fed reported better conditions across all 12 of its districts, though banking and financial services showed results that varied by region.
"Economic activity continued to expand moderately from November through December," the central bank said in a statement.
The findings were consistent with a recent pick-up in U.S. economic data that has prompted some economists to beef up their forecasts for growth in the first half of 2011.
The U.S. economy grew 2.6 percent in the third quarter, a level considered too meek to put a significant dent in the nation's 9.4 percent jobless rate.
So things are getting better but not better enough to actually show any improvements in things. Yeah, that works.
Apparently, the folks at the World Bank have a bit better handle on things than the Federal Reserve (also from Reuters yesterday):
(Reuters) - Economic growth in the world's wealthier nations is still too slow to create enough jobs for the tens of millions who lost their during the worst global recession since World War Two, the World Bank said on Wednesday.
Growth in the developing world will sharply outstrip growth in mature economies. The World Bank forecast growth in emerging economies of 6 percent in 2011, weaker than last year's 7 percent rate. Rich countries, in contrast, will grow only 2.4 percent, down from 2.8 percent for 2010.
The United States, the world's largest economy, is a case in point. The economy exited its worst recession in generations in the summer of 2009. But at 2.6 percent on latest count, growth has been too soft to put a meaningful dent in a stubbornly high jobless rate -- now at 9.4 percent.
Of course, today, along with the Jobs news, Reuters is also reporting that wholesale food prices are rising again.
As last year drew to a close, food and energy costs were rising briskly at the wholesale level despite a tame underlying inflation trend.
U.S. producer prices climbed 1.1 percent in December after a 0.8 percent rise in November, according to another Labor Department report. Economists had been looking for a repeat of that 0.8 percent advance in December.
Inflation excluding food and energy, however, rose just 0.2 percent, in line with forecasts. That left the year-on-year gain in core producer prices at 1.3 percent, just below analyst estimates, helping tame inflation fears.
Yeah, let's exclude food and energy costs from the inflation rate to try to make things look better, even though food and energy are basic necessities.
Can we get some clues for all the clueless, please?
And because I can: