First of all, it was fascinating that the stock markets hardly budged last Friday when theoretically stellar jobs numbers--a drop of .3% in the unemployment rate--came out. Here is my friend Jim's note on the matter; evidently about 2/3 of the jobs coming out are Christmas temporary, and the Labor Department has overestimated them by about 60-100,000 the last two years. Actual workforce participation and U6 (the real unemployment/underemployment rate) remains at 14.7% unemployment for U6 and a workforce participation of about 133 million--essentially unchanged since the start of 2009, and well behind population growth.
It's that last two words that really make me think. We define a recession as negative GDP growth, and a recovery as positive GDP growth, but when you get down to it, the average Joe feels the sting when GDP growth is less than population growth, at least when adjusted for inflation. In the same way, shouldn't we index jobs numbers to reflect population growth as well?
As such, we'd end up with an interesting new reality; 2% or less (approximately) GDP growth would qualify as a recession, as would jobs growth of 150,000 jobs/month or less. It would certainly put the heat on politicians.
Side note; pray for a trip to Kalamazoo late this week or early next week.
Damn - We have higher gas prices in the Twin Cities than just about anyplace else in the country right now: BrutalEven in 2008, it didn't get much above $4.00 here...
6 hours ago