Friday, October 08, 2004

Load 16 Tons, and What do You Get?

September employment figures are out. A few days ago, analysts predicted 150,000 new jobs being created in September. That would be about exactly what the economy needs just to tread water. Today, reality once again rears it's ugly head.

BLS stats show an increase of 96,000 jobs, well short of what's needed just to keep pace with new entrants to the job market. Oh, and the August numbers were revised downwards by about 20,000 jobs. So it's official. George Bush is the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a net loss of jobs during his administration.

The unemployment rate remained artifically low (and steady) at 5.4%. As we've noted before, this number simply reflects the number of people collecting unemployment - not the number of people whose unemployment compensation has run out, or have totally dropped out of the jobs market.

And, to wrap up this stunningly unpositive jobs report, AT&T announced layoffs of 7,500 people (about 20% of their workforce), and Bank of America announced a large layoff as well (3,000+ employees).

Work your fingers to the bone, and what do you get? Boney fingers.