We’re told that a very strong jobs report came out yesterday. It may have been stronger than expected in some ways, but it showed a troubled economy.
Here’s a typical media regime report—this one from CNN Money:
Likewise, the headline at Newser.com boasted, “Jobs Report Stronger Than Expected.”
The first thing one might notice is that the unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent. It seems odd that it would stay flat in spite of the “facts” that make this a very strong jobs report.
MarketWatch’s article starts with a bunch of supposedly good news. But if the reader gets past the headline and the first half of the story, he reads:
The bulk of the new jobs created in February were concentrated in fields such as retail and hospitality that don’t pay very highly, Labor Department data show. Wages fell.
Manufacturers and energy companies also eliminated more higher-paid jobs as they cope with falling exports and cheaper oil prices.
Then come some more claims of sunshine before we get some more bad revelations. Higher-paying jobs have been eliminated and lower-paying jobs have been created.
The shifting composition of new jobs appeared to suppress wages in February. Average hourly pay fell 3 cents to $25.35 an hour.
Hourly pay rose a mild 2.2% from February 2015 to February 2016, down from 2.5% in the prior month. Meager wage gains have been a hallmark of the nearly seven-year-old recovery that is the weakest in the post World War II era.
What’s more, the amount of time people worked each week dropped 0.2 hours to 34.4 hours, hitting the lowest level in two years.
Everything is made to look rosy at first glance and then confusing if you read carefully. A much clearer picture is available if you avoid the mainstream media. As Mish pointed out on his blog:
A quick dive into the details shows the report is a lot weaker than the headline number indicates. Of the 242,000 jobs added, 304,000 of them were part time. That means the economy actually shed 62,000 full-time jobs.
Average hours worked declined as did average weekly earnings despite minimum wage hikes in numerous states at the beginning of the year.
So there you have it in four sentences. This was a weak jobs report.
Mitt Romney warned of a recession if Donald Trump was elected president. I will be amazed if we make it to the election without already starting a recession. But, if so, one will start early in the nest president’s term no matter who we elect.