WOW! May nonfarm payrolls -345,000

As reported by the BLS this morning.

That is about 200,000 less job losses than had been predicted, and less than 50% of the job losses from a few months ago.

As the resident un-Cassandra around these parts, I hope I've earned a little respect with this report.

The unemployment rate, sadly, also continues to climb, at 9.4%, towards the 10%+ I predicted for July.

Additionally, the manufacturing workweek shrank again. That is a bad piece of economic news, the worst of the week.

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our ray of sunshine

that is better than expected but it also seems the unemployed are not finding jobs.

Manufacturing assuredly has something to do with the auto bankruptcies, even though the big coming layoffs haven't happened yet (as far as I know but they are coming). They are all on "furlough" since they closed the plants "temporarily".

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soak up the sun while you can

I almost forgot. I don't have a citation right at the moment, but I was reading where they expect layoffs, firings to abate in Q2, 2009 and they pick up again towards the end of the year.

It was some stat organization, i.e. like a layoff pattern tracker, for investors who said this and they were predicting another wave of firings, kind of a center in the storm situation.

I thought that was pretty astounding because that's not the normal lagging indicator.

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If it had been 200,000 worse than expected,

if the May unemployment numbers had come in at 735,000, would you have considered it a Big Deal? Probably yes. There would have been all kinds of sturm and drang in the econoblogosphere about proof that the sky really was falling.

And yet, the number comes in a whopping 200,000 better than expectations, and the econologosphere wants to pretend it doesn't exist, with all kinds of whiny excuses.

It's a Big Deal.

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It would need to come in 1.2 million better than expectations

For me to start celebrating.
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Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

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Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

Chris Martenson has a few questions.

Chris Martenson has a few questions about the BLS numbers.

First, he wonders what is so special about this particular May, in the year 2009?

Of course, there was also that ADP report from Wednesday which showed

Nonfarm private employment decreased 532,000 from April to May 2009 on a seasonally
adjusted basis, according to the ADP National Employment Report®. The estimated change of
employment from March to April was revised by 54,000, from a decline of 491,000 to a decline
of 545,000.

And, finally, there is the question of what has happened to those temporary census workers that were hired in April but were out of work in May.

The interesting part is that the ADP number does not include government workers, so I would have expected the BLS release (which does) to have tracked lower, not higher, than the ADP data. I say this because every state I have looked at has either cut or frozen government jobs. Yet the BLS report estimated that only 7,000 government jobs were lost across the entire country, which is mysterious, since quite a few of the temporary census jobs were terminated in May.

{snip}

Given that 60,000 temporary census jobs went away, I am at a loss to figure out how all the other government hiring and firing collectively added up to a 53,000 job gain to secure the final -7,000 reading.

Once again, one is left to wonder if the BLS has one too many letters or if it is more accurately an acronym for Bureau of Lying Statistics!

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