Employers made their deepest cut in staffing in almost five years in February, according to a closely watched government report that showed the labor market to be far weaker than expected.
The weak report fueled already mounting recession fears and is likely to influence the Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates later this month.
There was a net loss of 63,000 jobs, according to the Labor Department, which is the biggest decline since March 2003 and weaker than the revised 22,000 jobs lost in January. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a gain of 25,000 jobs in the most recent reading.
Despite the loss, the unemployment rate improved to 4.8% from the 4.9% reading in January. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate would rise to 5%. The rate fell because of a big jump in the number of people that the government counted as no longer in the labor force.
I’ve been saying for a while, somewhere in the past three to six years, unemployment figures have transcended their genre, moving from the realm of dry statistics into Republican fantasy. I don’t know anything about the folks on this chart are, or their predecessors (I do know the guy at the top replaced another Bush nominee last year), but I have to believe somewhere at or near the top of that list there is at least one true Bushie, or someone who got leaned on very hard. I just don’t see how the discouraged worker effect is growing this quickly, and I doubt that at this point the usual explanation (more people are now able to enjoy some leisure time) will cut it even among the most self-deluded cheerleaders.
Which leads to the question… why continue pushing a lie after no one believes it any more?
Update. I stand corrected. In comments, our own resident troll, “Formerly Anonymous” indicates that there is nothing wrong with the figures. Presumably then, Americans did, indeed, collectively choose to up their consumption of leisure last month. I imagine that must be due to fears that a Democrat might be elected president and then proceed to raise taxes.