Employment Numbers Greatly Disappoint
-- January 9, 2004
Job growth numbers were released today and it was a real stinker! Only 1,000 jobs were created in December, far less than the 100,000 that had been expected.
We've been telling you for some time that in order for the economy to experience meaningful and sustained growth, there needs to be roughly 150,000 - 200,000 jobs created per month. Clearly, employers aren't doing their part.
A closer look at the numbers reveals some worrisome facts.
* Employment in the retail sector fell by 38,000 in December. The holiday season is when retailers typically hire more staff. This indicates to us that retailers believe the recent rebound is over.
Some economic statistics indicate a recovery is underway. However, without job and income growth, any macro gains will likely be short lived.
* 26,000 more manufacturing jobs disappeared last month. That brings the total in 2003 to 516,000 and nearly 3 million since July, 2000.
* The government is using "fuzzy math" to calculate its unemployment figures. The national unemployment rate fell to 5.7% from 5.9% in December. However, that statistic doesn't count the roughly 1.5 million people who want to work but are discouraged and did not actively look for employment in the previous 4 weeks.
Job Growth Shrivels in December