Two Ways: Grim Job Numbers Suggest Recession Is Here to Stay
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The Department of Labor said today the nation lost 467,000 jobs last month, which was significantly above consensus estimates of a loss of 350,000. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate -- already at 25-year highs -- continued to creep higher to 9.5%, but that was slightly below estimates of 9.6%.
Compounding pressures on the consumer, the average work week fell to 33 hours -- a record low, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In a separate report, new jobless claims for state unemployment benefits fell twice as much as expected last week. Continuing claims also declined, a small suggestion that there could be improvement in the labor market.
See Professor John Mauldin's No End in Sight for Recession for more on the economy.
From the Bull Pen: Interesting response from the fertilizer stocks today. Word of Russia's largest potash miners raising prices gave a boost to this sector. A week ago, Potash's (POT) stock tanked after the company issued downside guidance.
So what we're seeing here is what a company expects versus what other companies are actually doing. I'll let the market decide this one, but bulls who believe the selling is done can consider Potash; a sell stop can be set 2% below entry.
From the Bear Cave: Regarding the jobs numbers, Professor Tom Fant had this to say:
"The employment situation continues to deteriorate. I would point out a couple things inside the worse than expected headline number. Net revisions to prior months were essentially flat. Temporary help declined 38,000, which removes the hope we got from the flattish number last month that things might be looking up.
"The dreaded birth/death adjustment added 185,000 jobs (up 12.1% yoy) including 87,000 jobs in leisure/hospitality. I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to the feasibility of adding jobs in that industry right now. Also Initial Unemployment Claims topped 600,000 for the twenty-second consecutive week."
Let your love be your life, Minyans! Have a safe and excellent holiday!
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