Friday, January 10, 2014

Recovery? BLS Reports Just 74,000 New Jobs in December

It's tough to wrap one's head around numbers like the BLS released prior to the opening bell Friday morning, but they reported a paltry 74,000 jobs created in December of last year, the lowest print in nearly three years and magnitudes lower than consensus estimates of 200,000.

The number was fabulously rejected by Moody's economist Mark Zandi, who, live on CNBC, said the number should be "thrown out." Oddly enough, Zandi helps create the monthly private payroll report by ADP, which reported 238,000 December jobs on Wednesday.

The markets didn't take Zandi's advice, especially the bond market, as the 10-year note ripped higher, the yield dropping to 2.88%, the lowest since mid-December. Stocks spent most of the week's final session in the red, before rallying slightly into the close. The NASDAQ and S&P finished with gains on the day, though the Dow was down once again, though only slightly.

For the week, the Dow lost 32.94 points, the S&P gained 11.00 points and the NASDAQ was ahead by 42.76 points, so, depending on one's perspective, the lack of new job creation in the US just doesn't seem important to the valuation of equities, a judgement nuanced by the fact that the labor force participation rate fell to its lowest level in 35 years, at 62.8%.

Because so many people dropped out of the work force, the unemployment rate magically dropped to 6.7%, the lowest since the onset of the recession, in October, 2008.

The numbers belie what's really happening in the real world. Jobs are just not being created with any kind of rapidity, at least not at the rate one would associate with a falling unemployment rate.

But, as the saying goes, it's "good enough for government work," which is always shabby and usually falls apart before long.

The facade promoted over the past five years by the government and the media, that we're in the midst of a recovery, just met a reality that competes with the accepted propagandized narrative.

Just a note: the huge jump in corn prices (up $20.75) was due to the January crop report, which showed corn stocks at just a shade under 14 million bushels. The rise in price was largely due to short covering. Prices are expected to stabilize near 415-435 cents per bushel over the near term.

DOW 16,437.05, -7.71 (-0.05%)
NASDAQ 4,174.66, +18.47 (+0.44%)
S&P 1,842.37, +4.24 (+0.23%)
10-Yr Note 98.86, +0.81 (+0.83%) Yield: 2.88%
NASDAQ Volume 2.01 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.31 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3708-1994
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 390-23
WTI crude oil: 92.72, +1.06
Gold: 1,246.90, +17.50
Silver: 20.22, 0.54
Corn: 432.75, +20.75

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