Digesting the bad claims report

Jim Picerno examines what looks like a stalled jobs recovery and compares it to 2001.
As always, the standard caveat is relevant here: initial claims are volatile and so any one reading should be taken with a grain of salt. That said, it’s getting harder to dismiss the trend this year for this series: treading water.
SEE ALSO: Rise in jobless claims underscores wobbly recovery
Apr 16, 2010 9:07 AM

Jobless rate relatively flat

Statewide unemployment dips 0.1 percent
Apr 15, 2010 1:47 PM

Whither the jobs market?

Reading James Cooper and Gerard Jackson, we get two very different views on the U.S. economy's employment prospects based on them paying attention to different indicators. From Cooper: "Profits and productivity go hand in hand, but the recent gains in productivity are far from sustainable. In an economy expected to grow at even a moderate 3 percent pace, businesses cannot continue to stretch their existing employees and facilities the way they did last year. They will have to add more workers." And from Jackson: "Right now the country has some very dodgy employment figures that even if accurate still do not paint an optimistic picture. There is also the fact that commercial and industrial loans continue to shrink, meaning that business is not borrowing. Then we have the situation of a contracting money supply which in itself strongly suggests an aborted recovery could be on the horizon." [poll id="10"]
Apr 13, 2010 8:28 AM

Report: Better energy efficiency would save Tennesseans $3B in 2030

Measures advocated by Duke/Georgia Tech study would eliminate need for seven power plants over two decades
Apr 12, 2010 12:27 PM

Everything but the jobs

Larry Kudlow is upbeat about a lot of things happening in the U.S. economy and I really want to agree with him. There's the swing in factory orders, the nice recent numbers from a lot of retailers and rising commodity prices. But when Kudlow says strong corporate profits are a good sign, he loses me. At this point, that looks to me to be the result not just of somewhat better demand, but also of continued cost cuts in the trenches of corporate America — i.e. jobs. As this chart shows, there will be no "V-shaped jobs recovery." SEE ALSO: Newsweek's hip-hip-hooray cover this week.
Apr 12, 2010 7:42 AM

A reminder that the jobs recovery will be a slog

Initial jobless claims rose unexpectedly last week, coming in 25,000 higher than analysts had been looking for. The number also didn't include a day's worth of activity from California, but James Picerno says there's some optimism to be found in continuing-claims numbers.
Apr 8, 2010 2:21 PM

Small but welcome

The much-anticipated March employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the economy added 123,000 private-sector jobs last month, the most in almost three years. That was lower than analysts had expected, but there are some positive nuggets inside the headline number.
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.
Apr 2, 2010 11:44 AM

MSA jobless rate catches up to national number

Greater Nashville's unemployment rate in February was 9.7 percent, down from 10 percent the month before. That brings it up back in line with the U.S. jobless number, which was unchanged at 9.7 percent in February, but likely would have been lower were it not for the whopper East Coast snowstorms that month. Among the local (relative) highlights: Davidson County added almost 1,000 jobs from January, Rutherford about 400 and the region's total labor force was steady after growing by more than 5,000 jobs in January.
Apr 2, 2010 8:18 AM

Rutherford wage drop fastest in nation

File under: Not a list you want to lead. The Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released third-quarter statistics on county-level employment and wages that showed Rutherford County had the biggest drop in pay of any large county in the country. It was the only county to see weekly wages fall more than $100. Not far behind is Williamson, while Davidson (along with Tennessee as a whole) checks in with a drop only slightly below the national average.
Apr 1, 2010 10:40 AM

Looking for a petering out of productivity growth

Because that would suggest that decent employment gains are in the offing.
One of the great surprises of the economic downturn that began 27 months ago is this: Businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.
Many market watchers had been looking for a solid sign from the March number that will be released tomorrow, but that now looks less likely.
Apr 1, 2010 10:07 AM