Thank goodness for Nissan and General Motors.
The latest batch of Nashville MSA employment growth numbers shows that the region's job base grew by 0.5 percent in 2011. December's year-over-year growth rate was the slowest of 2011 and was dragged down by losses in the information, transportation and government sectors, among others. On the positive side was manufacturing, where the region's auto giants have been ramping up in recent months. Also contributing strongly were the amorphous professional services and other services groups.
The firm expects unemployment to keep rising, in fact, pushing the monthly rate above 10 percent, giving rise to another batch of quantitative easing from the Fed. “We remain of the view that there is unlikely to be a material improvement in the employment data between now and the second half of next year,” economists Michelle Meyer and Neil Dutta tell clients. “The economy will manage to cobble together employment gains but not enough to keep the unemployment rate from rising.”
Did companies receive the memo to fire, yet miss the other one, with the much more critical rhyming verb? Never fear - the BLS has an explanation for everything, and the surge in claims was presumably not only predictable, it was expected, and was blamed on the fact that there was a federal holiday in the prior week.Bespoke says the claims trend doesn't bode well for stocks, but another indicator suggests the receovery is indeed taking hold.
The average work week increased to 34 hours from 33.9, a positive sign. Most employers are likely to work current employees longer before they hire new workers. The department also revised January's job total to show a gain of 14,000, up from a previously reported loss of 26,000. February's job numbers were also revised higher by 22,000 to show a loss of 14,000. The economy has now added jobs in three separate months since the recession began.SEE ALSO: Reactions via NPR and the Journal as well as this chart from Calculated Risk showing just how freakin' far we still have to go.
That leaves economists and the rest of us to wonder what the error rate is from April 2009 onward — numbers that won't be revised until February of 2011. What we do know is that the birth/death model has generated hundreds of thousands of jobs since April of last year — jobs that may get revised away in the final analysis.Tom Lindmark chips in with related commentary on Monday's ISM report and Thursday's Labor Department numbers.
The employment component increased a percentage point to 44.6%. Remember, anything under 50 represents contraction. In other words, companies are still cutting. By the way, the service sector represents 70% or so of the economy. I don’t know why the markets didn’t pick up on this on Wednesday, maybe they just needed the DOL report to confirm that all still isn’t well. At any rate, the message appears to be sinking in.
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