Interest Rate Roundup

Friday, September 07, 2007

August jobs report stinks up the joint

We just got data on the job market in August. I don't think it's an overstatement to say the report stunk up the joint. Here's a recap of the numbers ...

* Nonfarm payrolls FELL by 4,000 in August, versus expectations for a 100,000-job gain. Moreover, the job figures from recent months were revised lower. July's figures went from +92,000 to +68,000, while June's figures went from +126,000 to +69,000. The August reading was the single-worst in any month since August 2003 (-42,000).

* By industry, manufacturing shed 46,000 jobs, construction shed 22,000 and government shed 28,000 jobs. The "diffusion" index -- which measures what percentage of industries are adding workers vs. what percentage of industries are shedding them -- declined. It fell to 51.3 in August from 57.4 in July. That's the worst reading since February 2004 (50.2).

* Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% on the month, as expected. The unemployment rate also held steady at 4.6%, which is the silver lining on this dark cloud.


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