The last 100 days of an 8 year-long global tragedy are now counting down.
Please post here any and all images, accounts, opinions, insights, consequences or future wishes that put in plain cybersight what humanity has endured under the Little Bush Idiocracy.
Though the grotesque rule of the LBI is coming to a close, like a true garden variety prick LB has ensured the next regime in power will have most of its aspirations squashed by the outcome of 8 years of idiocy.............
October 3, 2008, 8:48 am
Jobs Report Underlines Economic Decline
By David Leonhardt
Updated 6:27 p.m.
"The U.S. consumer is in major trouble, with wage and salary income growth evaporating, credit extremely tight or unavailable, home prices continuing to decline, and food and energy costs consuming a large share of household budgets," said Joshua Shapiro, an economist at MFR, a research firm in New York. "Whatever the government might or might not do to try to bail out the financial system, a consumer-led recession is upon us, and it promises to be a serious one."
The government is out with more bad economic news this morning: The job market began to deteriorate even before the financial crisis reached a more serious stage two weeks ago.
Employers cut 159,000 jobs in September, more than twice as many as in August or July, the Labor Department reported. It was the biggest monthly decline since 2003, when the economy was still losing jobs in the wake of the 2001 recession.
Forecasters had been expecting a loss of about 100,000 jobs in September.
The new number was especially worrisome because the government conducted its survey during the week of Sept. 8, before the credit crisis took a new turn for the worse on Sept. 17.
Any single jobs report should be taken with a grain of salt, because the numbers can sometimes reverse themselves in the following month. But today's report raises the possibility that the job market "” and the broader economy "” is also entering a new stage.
Until last month, job losses in the current economic slowdown had been relatively mild. Employers added relatively few jobs over the past five years, compared with past economic expansions, and it seemed that job losses might remain mild as a result. But a monthly loss of 159,000 isn't mild; it was typical of the kind of decline during the job market's slump between 2001 and 2003.
The unemployment rate held steady, at 6.1 percent, last month, but that was in part a reflection of the fact that more unemployed people stopped looking for work. To be counted as unemployed in the statistics, a person must be out of work and actively looking for a new job.
According to the new data, 375,000 people dropped out of the labor force last month. That number comes from a smaller, more volatile survey than overall employment and probably shouldn't be taken literally. But it is also the reason the unemployment rate did not rise last month – and goes to show that the job market clearly is getting worse.
There was also a big spike in the number of people working part time because they couldn't find full-time work. More than 1.5 million people fell into this category in September, up from 400,000 a year earlier.
The job losses continued to be heaviest in industries tied to the housing market, like construction and real estate. But retailers, manufacturers, restaurants and hotels also shed jobs.
Government agencies and health care employers – like hospitals and doctors' offices – added jobs, as has been typical in recent years.
There was hardly any good news in this report. And the jobs numbers are especially important for two chief reasons. They are the first broad measure of economic activity during the previous month; and – unlike some other indicators, like gross domestic product – the jobs statistics describe the tangible effect that the economy is having on households.
Over the last year, the average hourly pay of rank-and-file workers – roughly 80 percent of the work force – has risen only 3.4 percent, according to the new numbers. The average workweek has also become shorter, so the increase in weekly pay has been even smaller: only 2.8 percent.
Inflation has been running at about 5 percent a year, which means that the most workers have taken an effective pay cut over the last year.