May 6, 2011
There was more bad news than met the eye to Friday’s jobs report, even beyond the bump up in the unemployment rate.
While the top-line number of 244,000 jobs created sounded great when it came off the tape, the internals were somewhat weaker. In particular, the household survey, which is an actual head count, suggested that the job creation barely kept up with the expansion of the labor force.
Under some circumstances, the rise in the jobless rate might have suggested good news—namely that many of the millions of discouraged workers were coming off the sidelines and looking for jobs, thus being added to the count according to the Labor Department’s byzantine method of composing the labor picture.