Jan 08 2011
Holiday seasons are notoriously bad times to sample long term trends. If you want to measure productivity don’t do it on a short work week – especially if it is normal for people to take off early the last work day. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas people are usually at their most optimistic or pessimistic (depending on their situation). Views of the economy will be more extreme than the rest of the year. Consumer activity during this period does not reflect the consumer spending the rest of the year.
Same thing with unemployment and employment. People are either temporarily employed for a short time, or the unemployed are busy attempting to make the best of their holidays and putting off first time claims until later. Worst yet, compassionate employers prefer to wait until after the holidays to dish out the bad news of lay offs.
Each Holiday season this year has resulted in a blip of good news due to short work weeks. The December jobs report is no different:
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The employment survey, the normal focus of attention, showed overall growth in payrolls of only 103,000. That was well below expectations, especially after a disappointing November report and a remarkably high estimate from private- sector payroll processor ADP earlier this week.
Yet the household survey, from which the unemployment rate is calculated, sent a completely different message. It showed an extra 297,000 people in jobs and 260,000 fewer people in the labour force. The combination of the two was enough to cause a drop in the unemployment rate from 9.8 to 9.4 per cent.
The weekly job reports tell the same story. The last report of the year (12/30/10) showed a weekly decrease of 34,000 first time claims for the week of Christmas. The next report, covering the period between Christmas and New Years, showed the opposite trend with an increase of 18,000.
I guess the liberal news media is still trying to spin a silver lining for the Dems out of the black economic clouds that have built up from the liberal deficit spending madness. I tend to look at indicators like how many people are still on extended unemployment as compared to a year ago (the heart of the great democrat recession of the 21st century). By that measure the Jan 1, 2011 data shows nearly 3 times as many people on Extended Unemployment benefits now than a year ago (929,570 now as compared to 316,988).
The number of people on Extended Benefits is a long term number which does not shift due to number of work days per week. Therefore don’t expect some magical relief from the Democrat spending binges. The only way to fix this is to shrink government dramatically, and end the accumulation of generational debt that is crushing us. Until then, fuggettaboudit.