August 6 2010
Bad Unemployment Numbers Are Always "Unexpected"
National Review's Jim Geraghty has an item wonderfully headlined, "Unexpectedly, the sun rose in the East." Geraghty is making fun of reporting on bad unemployment figures that are inevitably desscribed as "unexpected," even though anybody with a grain of sense knows they are going to be awful until Washington's policies change.
Today's Wall Street Journal reports on these wildly unexpected numbers:
The U.S. economy shed more jobs than expected in July while the unemployment rate held steady at 9.5%, a further sign the economic recovery may be losing momentum.
Nonfarm payrolls fell by 131,000 last month as the rise in private-sector employment was not enough to make up for the government jobs lost, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday. Only 71,000 private-sector jobs were added last month while 143,000 temporary workers on the 2010 census were let go.
Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires were expecting total nonfarm payrolls to drop by a smaller 60,000 in July.
Why were they expecting that? We have a business community afraid to make a move because you never know what Washington is going to do next and fearful of higher taxes.
Update: Interestingly, some media outlets, including Fox, are focusing on the good news in the new jobs figures, noting that our abysmal unemployment rate is holding steady. But you can't fool Mr. Market, who was way down around 11 am.