Saturday, November 07, 2009

Now, how bad is it REALLY?

Unemployment in U.S. Jumps to 10.2%, Payrolls Fall (Update3)
The unemployment rate in the U.S. soared to a 26-year high of 10.2 percent in October and employers cut more jobs than forecast

“We will certainly have very bad payroll numbers in November and December,” said Harm Bandholz, an economist at UniCredit Global Research in New York who accurately forecast the size of the drop in payrolls. “We don’t foresee businesses going on a hiring spree anytime soon.”

So, it wasn't all that bad at all, was it? Mr. Market thinks not.

Some investors key on upward revisions to prior months' payroll losses
At first blush, the October jobs report brought disappointing news for the average American and the U.S. stock market, which opened lower in its wake -- but a bounceback for equities quickly ensued.

=DJ (Dow Jones Newswires): US Retail Stocks Rise;Macy's Upgraded, Profit Forecast Boosted
Retail-sector stocks rose Friday, a day after retailers reported their best monthly sales in over a year, with Macy's Inc. (M) leading the gainers after analysts at JPMorgan upgraded the department-store operator to overweight from neutral.

The S&P Retail Index, outpacing the broader equities market, rose 1.2% to 393.26 in early trading.

Investors largely shrugged off Labor Department data showing that the U.S. unemployment rate climbed a more-than-expected 10.2% in October. Retail was one of the sectors that saw large job losses.

But on the other hand,

Civilian Hours per Week Cliff Dive Continues
Employment to population ratio (i.e. percent of the population working) cliff dived, the number of hours worked per week cliff dived, and the amount of hours worked (19.3 hours from 19.4 hours in September) per population member since... well ever recorded (since 1964) swooned off the cliff.
Be sure to check out that link (hattip Barry) to have a look at the arresting charts. Those brokers pushing up retail stocks should have a look and get arrested.


Ships arriving high in the water

Santa's sleigh sighted off Singapore

Oh, and whilst you must read deep down to the end of the Bloomberg article above, it did finally mention,
The average work week held at a record low of 33 hours in October, while average weekly earnings rose to $617.76 from $616.11 a month earlier.

Workers’ average hourly earnings were 2.4 percent higher than October 2008, the smallest gain since 2004.
As Barry Ritholtz puts it,
We stand at one of those odd junctions, when bad news will be perversely good news. A weak NFP report will be more confirmationt hat QE will continue deep into 2010, and the Fed will keep the liquidity spigots wide open. Too strong an improvement — a less bad report — raises the spectre of the end of easy money. Mr. Market may not like that too much . . .

If there were ever a more poignant picture of the chasm between Wall Street and Main, this would be it.


Broader Measure of U.S. Unemployment Stands at 17.5%
(Nov 6th)
With the release of the jobs report on Friday, the broadest measure of unemployment and underemployment tracked by the Labor Department has reached its highest level in decades. If statistics went back so far, the measure would almost certainly be at its highest level since the Great Depression.

In all, more than one out of every six workers — 17.5 percent — were unemployed or underemployed in October. The previous recorded high was 17.1 percent, in December 1982.

This includes the officially unemployed, who have looked for work in the last four weeks. It also includes discouraged workers, who have looked in the past year, as well as millions of part-time workers who want to be working full time.

It is a strange combination: workers who still have a job are doing better than in other deep recessions, but the unemployment and underemployment have risen to their highest level since the Depression.
Guambat reckons that kind of mixture leads to social volatility, VIX aside.


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