Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, was 10.0% in March — down from 10.2% in mid-March and 10.3% at the end of February, but above the 9.8% at the end of January. U.S. unemployment was 10.4% at the end of March a year ago.
I tend not to lend much credence, these days, to the official numbers – the Bureau of Labor Statistics has, very conveniently for Obama and the banksters, continually reduced the number of Americans in the work force…reductions which are not credible and have dropped our labor force participation well below the 10 year average. If the labor force number was the same as it was in 2008, we’d have an official unemployment number of around 11%. Given that this is more in line with what the Gallup poll shows, I tend to go with Gallup’s number.
There is no doubt, however, that the labor market has experienced some marginal improvement over the past 6 months or so – and that is good. But the bad news is that employment is always a lagging indicator. It starts to drop quite a bit after the economy hits the skids. Given such things as the continued collapse in home sales, the rapid rise in gasoline and food prices and the low and flat average number of hours worked per week (if employment was really improving, we would have first seen a spike in the average work week…the first thing employers do is add hours; they only add new workers when they simply have no other choice) it seems to me that we’re heading back in to recession…and thus the good jobs numbers we’re seeing now are a mere blip on the road down.
Can I be wrong? Of course. Lots of things can happen to alter the results – of course, among “lots of things” is a Chinese real estate bubble collapse, a sovereign default in the Eurozone, an inability to find buyers for US bonds; there aren’t too many things among “lots of things” which would make things better, but plenty which can aggravate an already difficult situation. My advice is to save as much money as you can, get out of debt as swiftly as possible and just be ready for anything.
UPDATE: A look at the underlying economic data demonstrates that, at best, we’ve had no more than the weakest possible recovery…and plenty of data points out there reflect continued recession (such as the record use of food stamps). Not only are we not out of the woods, we haven’t even struck the path out…and it might be that we’re heading further away from that path rather than closer to it.