Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Dow surges more than 300 points on blockbuster jobs data” wheezed the CNBC headline; a payroll headline so sugary it sent an embattled President Trump into full CAPS LOCK mode on Twitter. It’s no wonder that Google search trends for day trading has exploded. The stock market is a one way bet. And yet, and yet, it didn’t take long before the report started hissing air. It quickly became apparent to those who bothered to read the footnotes, that there were a few wrinkles in the linen. Indeed, it seems the jobs report has been a little frayed around the edges for a few months now, after the Bureau of Labour statistics let slip that they had thought about 5m people were dutifully going out to work with a pack lunch every day, but instead they were actually lying around at home day trading on their lap tops. Slice it either way, 5m is quite a lot to get wrong. The Peterson Institute for International Economics – an independent non-profit, non-partisan research body – whispered that, adjusting for the BIS air shot, “our realistic unemployment rate was 17.1% in May”. 17.1% is a lot of unemployed people. All told it appears the US is at an employment level lower than when it was in mid-2005 and the real itch, for those looking out, is how many of the currently furloughed or out of work, will be back in the saddle as local economies grind back into action. Data suggests some areas, like restaurants, are seeing a steady uptick; others are not. And whilst many trends are positive, the starting point is base camp. It’s a long way back to the top. Indeed, whilst consumers think it won’t be long before they will be back browsing the classifieds with confidence, it appears many businesses – as per the scratchy graph from the Daily Shot below – are clearly thinking about other matters. With revenues under pressure it is the cost base that is, perhaps, higher up on the list. The Federal Reserve chiefs know this only too well. They want jobs. Jobs, jobs and more jobs. And they will not stop until they get them.