Friday, January 07, 2005

Deja Vu all over again

This headline is proving to be as durable as "Unknown sleigh spotted by air traffic controllers" on Christmas Eve and "Taxpayers flood post office" on April 15:

December Jobs Gain Is Less Than Expected

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. employers added 157,000 new jobs in December, slightly fewer than expected, as retailers surprisingly shed employees during the holiday shopping season, the Labor Department reported on Friday.
The December jobs figure came in below Wall Street economists' forecasts for 175,000 new jobs. However, it followed upwardly revised totals of 137,000 jobs in November and 312,000 in October that previously were reported as 112,000 and 303,000 respectively.

In currency markets, the dollar was softer against the euro and the yen.

Jobs have been created for 16 straight months through December. During 2004 as a whole, 2.2 million new-hires were added to payrolls -- a turnaround from 2003 when 61,000 jobs were lost overall -- and the strongest performance since 1999 when some 3.2 million jobs were created.

'Overall, compared to the previous year, it looks great, it just keeps going stronger and stronger and I expect that to be the case this year,' said economist Kurt Karl of Swiss Re in New York.

Lisa Finstrom, a currency analyst with Citibank in New York, said the employment data were consistent with a market expectation of rising interest rates.

'People were looking at 150,000 jobs per month as a good pace of job creation for the economy,' Finstrom said. 'We're sticking near that area. So the Fed continues tightening.'"

Ah, yes, the dulcet tones of counting house whores at work. In case you've forgotten, 150K is the break even number as compared to growth in the work force. And, as Atrios reminds us:

Number of jobs, 12/2000: 132,441,000
Number of jobs, 1/2005: 132,266,000

Looks like Mr. Karl and Ms. Finstrom are auditioning for jobs as good news elves at the White House.


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