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Jobs: Bad news or good sign?

May 8, 2009

If you’re one of the 539,000 people who lost their job last month, do you have reason to be hopeful today? The stock market seems to think so. And many of those who work in the financial sector say the April jobless report, which included an unemployment rate at a quarter-century high around 9 percent, indicates the economy is near bottom. One analyst said, “May looks much more favorable”; said another: “You can make the case that the panic layoffs that we saw at the turn of the year are starting to ease.”

Not everyone was optimistic. “The big question is has the peak in job losses hit? I am somewhat skeptical that we have seen the absolute worst of it, but you can’t rule that out,” said Jay Mueller, a senior portfolio manager at Wells Capital Management.

What do you think? When it comes to job losses, is the worst behind us?


…..9% …. seems a LONG way from the media induced hysteria that we were headed for the GREAT DEPRESSION, where unemplyment was 25%. Allow 3% for hard core unemployed and 4% for persons seeking new jobs. The 9% is hardly cause for doom-and-gloom. 539,000 lost their jobs last month is HALF the picture. How many got jobs? Come on media — stop the self-serving hype.

Posted by hector | Report as abusive

I am very limited in my understanding of economics but from what I see locally the markets are jumping the gun and falling right back into the same trap. I feel the authorities are consolidating wealth. I feel soon there will economic collapse such as that was barely avoided last year. I think the avoidance of the meltdown emboldened people to keep their faith in a dying system.

Posted by william | Report as abusive

539,000 is still a lot and thinking that more than 5 million lost their jobs in a year. How will you get them employed? What is the next job machine? Will there be one? We had the semiconductors and the internet….. The alternative energies will produce not more than 200,000 not more. USA and the world has a big problem for years to come.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

All recessions end at one point, just as all booms end , this recession is about to end because the economy is getting back on it’s feet , when the cause of the downturn is gone, the downturn ends, the banks are about to get out of the bad situation, I say this is time to jump on this train.

Posted by Gabe | Report as abusive

hector, the method that was used to calculate unemployment rate back in the great depression era is vastly different from today. I believe the rule was changed in the late 80′s or early 90′s. There were some economists that say the unemployment rate is around 15 to 16% (using the same method as the great depression). And that’s the figure they calculated two months ago. Now is probably up to 18%.

Posted by Vince | Report as abusive

The next ‘job machine’ is the US census: 1,400,000 temp government jobs during 2009 and 2010, starting now.
Nothing else.

Posted by yr | Report as abusive

A huge number of all the manufacturing jobs that have been shed will never return to the Us or to Europe. Multinationals took advantage of the recession to sack their expensive Us/European workforce and once the economy starts to recover they will create new production facilities in low wage countries.


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