One of my favorite math professors always used to tell me that statistics were like bikini bathing suits. What they reveal is fascinating, but what they conceal is essential.
If there were ever a chart that showed how the pulse of the economy was flat lining, this is it. The scary thing is not the past, but the prologue. The expectations bar was so low, that anything short of Armageddon had to deliver a stock market rally, which is promptly gave back on Tuesday. Apparently, this is how long it takes for traders to figure out a loss of 54,000 jobs is actually a "real" loss of 154,000 jobs when population growth is taken into consideration. And we know that these figures omit the millions subject to mandatory furloughs, pay, and benefit cuts. It is back to school season again, and for many municipalities that means it's time to fire more teachers, cops, and firemen.
The 200,000 monthly job gains normally seen at this stage of the economic cycle will not arrive for years, if ever. Over employment in these fields is still legion when compared to the corporate world. While the 67,000 new private sector jobs are laudable, it is not the sort of growth that bull markets are built upon. At this rate, it will take 120 years just to bring the unemployment rate down to 5%. No matter how much money the government throws at the economy, those 25 million mostly blue collar jobs that we shipped to China from 2000-2008 are never coming back. The only question is how many more jobs the Middle Kingdom relieves us of as they relentlessly work their way up the value chain.
The new management in America is all about staying thin and agile, and that involves only hiring a new worker at the point of a gun, lest one become saddled with all of the secondary costs and entitlements that entails. Expect more of the same in coming months, and if you have a job, keep it all costs.
By. Mad Hedge Fund Trader