Today’s Employment Report Changes Little

The BLS has reported the employment report for November (LINK).  The markets are taking this bullishly, as the jobs gains were modestly above consensus.  There are flies in that ointment; the report looks mostly like a “nothingburger”.  

Once again, the 25-54 age groups, and sub-groups within that age range, showed no job growth year on year and are reported to have lost jobs month on month.  So once again all the jobs gains are coming from the older age ranges (and a small amount from the sub-25 year old range), who in a challenged labor situation “should” be retiring so that families can form and support themselves with full-time jobs.  But older employees are attractive to employers for several reasons, so it is what it is.

Another fly is that the prior two months had negative adjustments totaling 49,000 jobs.  Also, the consensus expectation of only around 85,000 jobs to be gained incorporated the expectation of jobs losses due to Hurricane Sandy.  However, the BLS stated that under their definition of unemployment, they could find no jobs losses attributable to Sandy.

Finally, the employment:population ratio is meandering per this report and multiple recent jobs reports and is not rising, and wage gains are low.

The prices of both gold and Treasury bonds dipped on the news release, and stocks rose.  This looks like a knee-jerk reaction.  There is nothing in this report that changes much.  Buyers of gold and bonds simply have a slightly better price now, as do sellers of stocks.  




8 comments to Today’s Employment Report Changes Little

  • George

    People over 55 have had their retirements nuked in the last 4 years. Many have no choice but to work. I believe that asking them to “retire” to make room for someone else is silly when many of them can’t.

    I can tell you it is no picnic for the over 55. I’m making more than I ever have, but it took years of looking for work and precious few opportunities before I got work… and I have graduate degrees plus lots of high level skills. I got two interviews – and was hired on the second one, but that was 2 interviews in 2.5 years.

    Employers are cherry-picking from the existing worker pool because economic growth is too slow to create serious demand for workers. When we get sufficient growth in sales, then employers will stop expecting to get the “perfect fit” employee and will be more willing to hire people with merely “overlapping” skills instead of exact.

    This present administration will not generate the conditions for high growth, though.

  • Thanks for sharing your personal situation, George. I always think those are valuable additions to our exchange of views and assist our interpretation of the reality of what is going on in this gigantic country; plus our many international readers have an ex-US perspective.

    Regardless of who occupies the White House, I am hoping and expecting that the American people, and people worldwide, will find good solutions to our problems. But it will not be easy, and no particular outcome is guaranteed.

  • George, You are right about the need for sales to be better before hiring picks up. Sales, or better, household consumption, is tied to needs plus discretionary purchases. Both are large when adolescents are present and driving household spending. The US is dominated by the Boomer demographic which is largely past the child raising years. Boomers are now driven by a need for debt reduction and increasing retirement assets. Government policy cannot change that focus. Adolescent population in the US has a declining trend which does not change until 2024. X-Gen & Millennials will have more and better jobs afterwards but it will be a long, slow adjustment getting there.

  • Monetary Central Planning:
    Kevin Annett, money system to slave native people in Canada:

  • D

    Like the proverbial snake consuming it’s recent catch, the ‘boomers’ are moving down the consumption path to eventually be shat out the rear end in old age. Having been decimated x2 between dot.bomb and housing, the avge oldster has no spare cash. Expectations on avge that mom & dad will leave behind a ‘nest egg’ are fading as well.

    I have a mother who is 86 and still going (reasonably) strong, with a portfolio in excess of $500k. I feel fortunate to not need her money, but I know in another two years she might to the tune of $5-6k/mo for care. So much for a nest egg if she lives more than a few years that way. I on on the other hand am one of them luck sob’s who managed to cash out a bit in 2007 from a business, and am not forced to work. But I don;t have enough to simply spend it down till I or the missus die. So I am a farmer now, with plans for the land to go to the kids. Better than betting on bonds or stox right now. Thanks Jim Rogers for that tip a few years ago!

    I fail to see how we ever fix what ails us. Romney was right about the 47 percent, and no one wants ot give up their ‘fair share’ of government largess — nor does it seem they can afford to anyway. Meanwhile the GINI index for the US makes us look like a 3rd world banana republic.

    The oldsters need their Social Security and Medicare, so those costs are not gonna shring as the meal moves down the snake, and the snake looks a lot thinner income wise behind that meal.

    I see the only answer going forward is Ctl-P over and over again.

  • John B.

    I have to disagree with “D” on the boomers assumption. In my opinion, boomers were the luckiest generation that could make a huge fortune out of their housing, and now are the ones who keep the economy stuck and are being maintained by the generations of their children and grandchildren (in terms of social programs).
    The 2011 Census Results: Population Growth and New Housing Trends shows this gap. And in connection with lower fertility, more one parent households and other trends, we can expect negative consequences on the future retirements, social securities etc.

  • Hans

    Last August, I told my wife wait and see who makes up all of those employment numbers; it will not be the private sector..

    Yes, of course I was speculating, but in the past five months, 3/4 of all new jobs where in governmental units..

    Now we have what they wanted – Omerica..

  • George

    @Doctorx – Thanks. Mine is not a sob story. I’m now in the president’s cross hairs for taxes, but I was trying to explain why boomers are aggressively looking for work.

    @John B – The boomers are only the latest generation to act stupidly. Social Security and Medicare were started by my father’s generation. They pretty much got benefits for very little down payment. The boomers just bought into their parent’s ‘great society’ nonsense.

    With an anti-business climate in Washington, and the entire developed world getting themselves into greater and greater debt, the prospects of a high growth economy are dim at best.

    Someone should have choked the life out of the baby Keynes when he was in his crib…. except that someone else would have invented his nonsense.