Saturday, June 08, 2013

U.S. job creation: steady but slow.

The U.S. created a net 175,000 jobs in May, exceeding the 164,000 economists forecast. The labor force surged by 420,000, pushing up the civilian participation rate, now at 63.4%, for the first time since October.  Meanwhile, the unemployment rate edged up to 7.6% from 7.5%. This is good news because it meant more people believe more work is available, so are entering the labor force in search of work.

Still, the true unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 13.8% — down from 13.9% in April — if everyone who wants a full-time job but can’t find one is included. Millions of Americans still cannot find work nearly four years after the recession ended.

One thing that’s bolstering the economy: a sharp decline in layoffs. The percentage of the workforce losing jobs has fallen near an all-time low. Even as companies won’t hire as many people as expected at this stage of a recovery, they also won’t cut workers loose.

“The labor market continues to trudge forward at a solid, though unspectacular, pace — not unlike the economy as a whole,” said Jim Baird, chief investment officer for Plante Moran Financial Advisors. And Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG LLC, added the jobs report “does nothing to change the broader view that the Fed [Federal Reserve Bank] is set to steadily reduce its pace of asset purchases . . . and that all else equal, good news should be taken as good news.”

Translation of the Greeenhaus comment: job growth isn’t large enough to excite the Fed, therefore Wall Street will keep investing in a stock market propped up by continued Fed low interest rate policies.

And that’s “good news”--for Wall Street.

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