Okay, we've had a chance to celebrate our nation's independence and a chance to digest the jobs report released last Thursday to a light viewing audience on Wall Street and a small percentage of the general public. Now, we have a chance to delve into the data to find out why we should be relieved, concerned, and scared out of our wits.
The June jobs report had it all and while the media played the usual favorites, there were three serious messages: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
> 288,000 - Net Jobs
> 262,000 - Private sector
> 200,000+ Five consecutive months
Job creation has traction, and it could begin to feed on itself. Thus far, it has been easy to describe the recovery as "jobless," given the lackluster rebound in employment. Remember, it is all about elasticity driven by pent-up demand. There is a lot of talk about current economic policy working, but the fact of the matter is that this is still a lackluster recovery (underscored) and the first quarter GDP is down 2.9%. As for the future, it is a critical part of the virtuous cycle to get it moving, and there is momentum.
I am not sure if we can get 400,000 or 500,000 numbers like we've seen in the aftermath of past recessions (there were 1,115,000 in a single month under Reagan, and 600,000, were returning strikers; the number was huge: 4,097,000, generated over the next twelve months) because of policies, regulations and taxes.
> Average Hourly Wages +$0.06 to $24.45
> Long -Term Unemployed -293,000 to 3,081,000
> Retail Jobs +40,000
> Food Services +33,000
One might wonder why a sharp decline in long-term unemployed is "bad" news. It is the total of 3,000,000 and the relationship with tepid wage growth that is worrisome. Minimum wage up six cents is just not enough to keep up with official inflation readings (government numbers), and it is certainly not enough to match record food and commodity prices. There is evidence that many longer-term unemployed are now willing to accept any job at just about any wage.