Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Rodney Dangerfield Economy

From Investor's Business Daily yesterday:

Here we had 92,000 jobs added to payrolls in October. That may have been below estimates for the month, but the total first reported for August was revised upward 42,000 to 230,000, and September turned out to be nearly three times as strong as first reported — 148,000 vs. 51,000. Bottom line: Corporate hiring is running near a healthy 150,000 positions a month.

And that doesn't include jobs in the household survey. That measures both corporate payrolls and the hard-to-gather data on entrepreneurial jobs and self-employment. By the household measure, the number of jobs surged 426,000 in October to a total of 145.3 million, even stronger than the strong gains of the previous two months and pulling the monthly average in 2006 to 251,000.

All this has contributed to a 0.2-percentage-point drop in the jobless rate — to a 5 1/2-year low of 4.4%. That's lower than the Clinton-era unemployment average of 5.2%, by the way, and is hair-close to the level where employers start having a hard time finding workers.

Meanwhile, wages are growing at 4%, a rate — as economist and commentator Larry Kudlow notes — almost twice that of inflation, which itself has been cut in half with the plunge in gasoline prices.

So how does all this good news play out in, say, the New York Times?

For the positive wage news, you'd have to drill down 11 paragraphs (and flip to the jump page) in a Friday story headlined "October Sales Were Weak At Wal-Mart" to learn that "wages are increasing and Americans are finding themselves with more disposable income."

Read more here.


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