Stocks Soar: Better Than Expected Jobs Report

Stocks Soar: Better Than Expected Jobs Report

Christina Romer.jpg

Christina Romer, CEA Chair

The financial markets liked the August jobs report today that showed that 67,000 jobs were added to the private sector adding to now eight months of growth in this sector. Unemployment is at 9.6 % with average earnings up.3%.  The Dow is likely to have a 4% gain over the past two days. Is our economy headed for a recovery?  Or are the stock markets reacting to the positive news too quickly?


Let's look at the numbers which show a mixed report.  The "real" unemployment number for unemployment which includes part time workers is up to 16.7% from 16.5%.  Temporary staffing added 16,800 jobs in August which sent this sector stocks soaring with significant gains for Robert Half, Manpower and Pay Force which had been lackluster until today's jobs report.


Manufacturing lost 27,000 jobs in August and the government sector lost another 121,000 jobs which included 114,000 census jobs for August.  Construction added 19,000 jobs that surprised Wall Street due to the weak data in new home sales.  The service sector added 67,000 jobs last month.


This economic news was bittersweet as government Chair of Council Advisors, Christina Romer, ended her role after serving for 22 months under President Obama. Romer will be teaching at UC Berkeley this fall after a trying time since the recession began.


Romer had gone on record in December, 2008 saying that the U.S. unemployment rate would not go over 8%. With some analysts saying we may get to 11% unemployment her miscalculation has caused discern among her critics.  While watching Romer in one of her last interviews as CEA Chair today on CNBC, she looked as if she was more than ready to leave her high profile role and begin her teaching position at Berkeley.


Her final comment was something that we already are painfully aware of.  She said, "We have two problems, a budget deficit and a jobs deficit."  Yes, Christina, we are getting it, but what should we do?  I certainly don't think anyone has any answers, but to keep hoping our economy gets better and our world economy holds up.


My feeling is that it will take years for the number of jobs available to catch up with the number of people looking for them.  Many people will not be able to return to what they had done in the past to make a living.  It's all about learning new skills in areas that will have greater demand like technology, healthcare, luxury service, and law.


 As our economy gradually pulls itself out of the ground, you'll have the right skills and a better chance of getting a job.  In the meantime, do what you need to do to survive while learning those new skills and intern in the new industry where you are able to make contacts.  Analysts can mull over these job figures to death,  yet the bottom-line is that it's going to take many years for a full recovery and new skills are needed to survive.


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