Guest Post: An Alternative Read On Today's "Bullish" Jobs Data

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Panzner of Financial Armageddon

Economists and stock bulls cheered this morning's better-than-expected November employment report. But was the data as good as it seemed? Consider the following:

Temporary jobs

Could the nine-month rally in share prices and the positive spin
pouring out of Wall Street and Washington have encouraged some owners
and managers, who are seeing little direct evidence of a rebound in the
economy, to acquire what might be described as a labor call option --
that is, temporary staff (a key factor in the overall increase)?

Otherwise, temporary employees accounted for 52,400 of the hefty
86,000 jump in the professional and business services category. Might
this reflect the fact that firms are temporarily taking on accountants,
lawyers, and others who can help them further reduce costs (e.g.,
labor), restructure operations, and maybe even prepare for bankruptcy?

Long-term unemployed

Today's employment report revealed that the labor force
participation rate dropped to 65%, it's lowest level in more than two
decades; the number of Americans who are unemployed over 26 weeks fell
to a record 3.8% of the civilian workforce; and, the "underemployment"
ratio improved only marginally, to 17.2%.

Could this set of statistics be interpreted as a sign that employers
don't see enough good opportunities to justify taking risks as far as
hiring is concerned? In other words, are they are sticking with the
safe option -- the job market's "known quantities" (e.g., those who are
currently employed or who haven't been out of work too long)?

Category trends

While much of the focus was on the overall number, the breakdown by
category was less reassuring. Those areas of the economy that would
naturally be associated with a sustainable rebound in activity,
including manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, and
construction, are still hemorrhaging jobs.

Moreover, recent developments suggest that two categories which did
see respectable gains, education and health care, face major headwinds
in the period ahead. With municipal budgets under growing strain,
school budgets -- and education-related hiring -- have nowhere to go
but down. And with all eyes now focused on the rising cost of health
care, the pressure to reign in spending will only increase.

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Sardonicus's picture

Poor bastards who have jobs will be abused because they can be.

Reminds me of this old clip:

Love the cannons at 9:30 in the clip

pbmatthews's picture
Today's BLS number was pure BS.   Just like last month's number was BS.   The release has to do with one thing---timing.   Last month's report jumped 0.4% to 10.2%.   When was the last time the US Jobless rate had such a large change?   To be honest, I don't know.  But with a workforce of our size, I doubt it ever has shown this much movement except maybe after an event like 9-11.   So the timing is for Christmas--a way to the BHO minions to get on this Sunday's talk shows to say the economy is improving so they can promote Christmas sales (and maybe get another positive GPD print in Q4).   Look American Sheeple...the job market is getting better!!!!  Unemployment fell last month!!!   Now do your patriotic duty and go out and spend on your credit cards some more---the same credit cards that set another monthly record for the most delinquencies in terms of percentage and amounts delinquent in the history of the country last month.   Ohhh....That is if you still have a credit card or a card with any balance available on it.  That's right, many of you don't.  The banks have pulled $1.2 trillion in available credit from credit card holders in the last year.
Anonymous's picture

I was wondering if the "drop" came from government hires, 30,000 going to Afghanistan, off the unemployment roles, etc.

After watching "whoever" from the BO czarhood, is like watching a pre-packaged, canned, feel good, BS. Makes me sick!

bugs_'s picture

The Perfect Storm is coming for you education and health care workers.  Prepare.

aaronvelasquez's picture

I know Phoenix has class sizes of 40 kids.  The teachers have a bit of a hard time keeping up.

Bob Dobbs's picture

It has been getting worse for about two years now.  The class sizes are bigger, and the poor kids are now coming to school and telling us about life at home - one parent, working two jobs!  There is very little supervision before 7 pm, and very little correct homework being completed.  I am doing most of the work in class now, and working on mastery of the content.  It is very slow going with less home support. 


I want to be clear about this.  This is not the kids fault.  Future generations tend to hang tags on the age cohorts.  As if a child can do anything about the circumstances of their birth!  By many measurements, and I'll admit I can only see my community first hand, we are failing to address the basic currency of our countries future; our replacements.

Cursive's picture

All good points.  The only comfort I have is that Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner are the highest profile temp workers in America!

Anonymous's picture

Don't forget BHO. Unfortunately, those asshats, er, congressfolk seem to have found government work...can't get fired even inspite of themselves.

Problem Is's picture

The financial bloggers are destroying the BLS numbers en masse and the Obama Bullshit Express. Propaganda slowly fails in the light of facts.

If they had the internet and bloggers in Hitler's day... Panzer, Tyler et al would be making soap in Auschwitz...

If they had the internet and bloggers in Stalin's day Panzer, Tyler et al would be digging the White Sea Canal...

Except for the Gold Bugs... with Stalin's sick ironic sense of humor, he would send Gold Bug bloggers to die in the Kolyma gold mines...

omi's picture

Love your stalin comment! Thanks for the chuckle.

Anonymous's picture

The author's name is Panzner, not Panzer.

BorisTheBlade's picture

"Except for the Gold Bugs... with Stalin's sick ironic sense of humor, he would send Gold Bug bloggers to die in the Kolyma gold mines..."

That's what he did to "Gold Bugs" of those days: After that there were no gold bugs in USSR simply because no one had gold in the first place after changing it to necessary items in Torgsins.

Dr. Elena Osokina is currently working on her new book entitled “Torgsin”. The study reveals the unknown story of Soviet industrialization and everyday life by exploring the role of the state stores, Torgsin (1931-36), which during the lean years of Stalin’s industrialization sold food and goods to the Soviet people at inflated prices in exchange for foreign currency, gold, silver and diamonds. Torgsin became an important source of gold for Stalin to finance industrialization and the major strategy for survival for people during those harsh times.

Rather smart way to expropriate gold and silver - don't put the gun to their heads, but make them hunghry and limit options for buying food only to stores that trade in hard currency and people themselves will bring their gold to you.

Anonymous's picture

And yet, still a strong recommendation for holding some. Worst case scenario, those who could shop at the Torgsin did not starve. That alone makes PMs a quite reasonable insurance policy.

BorisTheBlade's picture

"those who could shop at the Torgsin did not starve"

Very true. Yet, I wasn't suggesting that one should get rid of gold, I'd buy some more if it went down in value a bit.

Anonymous's picture

you should brush up on facts, Hitler was fine until he trusted the Rothschilds. People accuse others of wearing tin foil hats, they are usually the fat fuks that spend most of the time watching the boob toob.

Cursive's picture

From earlier ZH post, in case anyone missed it:

TrimTabs employment analysis, which uses real-time daily income tax deposits from all U.S. taxpayers to compute employment growth, estimated that the U.S. economy shed 255,000 jobs in November.  This past month’s results were an improvement of only 10.2% from the 284,000 jobs lost in October.

source:  Charles Biderman of TrimTabs

Bob Dobbs's picture

I am always looking at TrimTabs data to curb my enthusiasm for the official numbers.  Really, TrimTabs data is usually prescient.  The problem is that they do not make the headlines.

Anonymous's picture

There is an increase in temporary employment because it is the holiday season and there is always an increase in temporary employment around this time. The fact that was the source of most of the reduction is neither positive nor an indicator of growth and these talking heads should know that.

Anonymous's picture

Potemkin employment numbers are all well and good but what about the real numbers. Our debt to GDP ratio? Our fiscal and trade imbalances? Did these magically disappear in November? If not, then nothing has really changed. Just a lull in the downpour of debt deflation or a temporary umbrella held by Ben and Tim that will be shredded in the next big gust of wind and rain sure to come.

Anonymous's picture

Its It's

omi's picture

It's irellevant, and I don't mean it in a bad way.

No, it's not incorrect. It just doesnt' measure unemployment, BLS updates everyone with output of a model. That's it. You cannot claim it's incorrect, or BS, because it doesn't measure unemployment, but rather an output of a model. I don't think I have to say it again.


Second reason why you shouldn't care. You're either trading the markets or you're just an idiot trying to find something to get angry about.

Have you seen markets go up on good news?

Have you seen markets go up on bad news?

Have you seen markets go up on no news at all?

Have you seen markets going down on news at all? Same for the down moves.

If you've answered yes to all questions above - you're awake and are paying attention.


I view as increased unemployment as a good thing because jobs in unproductive businesses are being eliminated. We just don't need so many lawyers, stock brokers, real estate agents. Why is anyone surprised by that people are losing jobs left and right in places that should not have existed in the first place? like towns of couple 2000 people that grew to 20K because they built 5 shopping malls in the middle nowhere and some macmansions?

Anonymous's picture

For a good part of the last decade, I would watch in amazement when good economic news would be reported and the market would take a huge dump. Conventioanl wisdom would infer that what's good for the economy should be good for the market. Boy was I wrong. Good economic news = bad for market as good economic news means inflation and inflation means the Fed would tighten.

So if the economy is in such hot-s*** shape, shouldn't Uncle Benny be gearing up for a good bout of inflation fightn'. I'd say a couple of basis points would do the trick.

Anonymous's picture

I love these 'alternative' posts at ZH.
I find them entertaining usually.

Only 255,000 lost jobs in November compared to 284,000 in October. So things are getting better.

One of these days I'm going to put on Bloomberg TV and they'll be singing 'We've got to admit it's getting better! It's getting better all the time!'

And they'll make Rick Santelli wear a clown suit with a glowing nose.

Then Jim Cramer will cut the cake (they'll have a cake) and confetti will rain down.

Then Marilyn Manson will play Beautiful People and all the newscasters will dance around while they inflate the new inflatable giant Bull macy's float in the background.

Then..a group of irresponsible antisocial types shall arrange for the bull to hover over what appears to be a large bullpat. the camera's shall quickly look away


Anonymous's picture

"I know Phoenix has class sizes of 40 kids."

Jesus H Christ, even in the UK where we bitch endlessly about class sizes and education, 30 is at the too high end (and many schools employ teacher assistants).

Regardless of what is going on right now, how are kids who have 1/40 of a teacher's help and attention going to compete with the chinese whose primary concern with new disposable income is educating their kids?

Anonymous's picture

Anonymous H Tool, maybe you should check to see how much classroom money is flushed down the commode of "administration". If education wasn't such a monstrosity of bureaucracy, there might actually be money for classrooms.

gridlocked's picture

The number of people drawing a paycheck for a 40 hour week would be a better indicator of employment.


These numbers though are BS. The net number of people out of work actually went up ever so slightly and it would have been worse without temporary Christmas jobs. So how  do they show a decrease in the percent out of work when the net number went up?

Cui Bono's picture

Christmas spin.....  CNBC had the crawl line "will temporary jobs become permanant?"  Yeah, sure, cuz Jersey needs a shitload of Christmas elves to paint Easter eggs all spring....


and over at the FDIC they are closing them up again.. 4 so far today...



cdskiller's picture

Tyler, ZH is the only site that matters.

Anonymous's picture

How many of the healthcare jobs are IT jobs? The stimulus included billions to update and standardize medical information systems so that more jobs could be outsourced in the future.

chancee's picture

I simply don't believe the jobs numbers.  The administration was in a crisis moment.  Bernanke was going down, Geitner was going down, Christmas was going down, the market was ABOUT to go down... Obama and his cronies have gotten so used to manipulating things, it was only a matter of time until they found there way to the jobs report.

HEHEHE's picture

Two people in today's workforce and their both pissed off: the unemployed, and the employed stuck doing their own and the unemployed's jobs.

Kreditanstalt's picture

Will everyone PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! stop spelling this's "rein in spending", not "reign".  They are NOT royalty, after all...

harveywalbinger's picture

Subversion control 

Government cheese sustenance

Complicit congress

Anonymous's picture

Trim Tabs has a better forecasting record than the BLS:

They say jobs down 255,000 in November - but who really knows what a job is these days - a couple of hours wrapping presents probably qualifies.

kiran1234's picture

Pretty insightful post. Never thought that it was this simple after all. I had spent a good deal of my time looking for someone to explain this subject clearly and you?re the only one that ever did that. Kudos to you! Keep it up Seo Agentur