James Pethokoukis

Higher growth vs. rising unemployment

August 3, 2009

Two fun factoids:

1) During the past two recessions, the unemployment rate kept rising for 15 months (1990-91 downturn) and 19 months (2001 downturn) after the recession officially ended, according to the National Bureau of Economcic Research.  If that happens now, we are looking at rising joblessness right smack into Election Day 2010.

This is how bad that jobs report was …

July 2, 2009

Economist David Rosenberg thinks the jobs report was, in effect, a boot heel stomping all over the green shoots:

Unemployment in June at 9.5 percent … or is it 10 percent?

July 2, 2009

According to the Labor Department, the economy lost 467,000 jobs and the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.5 percent in June.  But lots of workers have stopped looking for work and that skews the unemployment rate. If workers were looking for jobs in the same numbes as they were in June 2008 (we are talking about the labor force participation rate which was 66.1 percent then and 59.5 percent now), the unemployment rate would be at 10 percent.

White House: 10 percent unemployment ‘within months’

June 22, 2009

WH spokesman Robert Gibbs echoes what his boss said recently:

The U.S. unemployment rate is likely rise from already high levels to 10 percent in the next couple of months, a White House spokesman said on Monday.

Credit card meltdown?

June 22, 2009

Some doom and gloom from David Wyss of S&P via the NYPost:

David Wyss, S&P’s chief economist said banks should brace for a plastic meltdown as credit-card losses track the unemployment figures almost exactly. “Credit-card losses, on average, are equal to the unemployment rate plus about 5 percent,” he said, noting his estimates that the nationwide jobless rate could rise as high as 12.5 percent by 2011.

The timing of the Fed exit strategy

June 15, 2009

When will the Federal Reserve begin to execute its exit strategy? Well, as far as the interest rate component goes, keep an eye on the job market.  At least that is how economists John Ryding and Conrad DeQuadros see things:

An improving job market? Maybe not

June 10, 2009

The below chart, highlighted by Jeffrey Frankel of RGE Monitor, provides a counterpoint to the idea that the labor market is improving and employers are gearing up to hire. If they were, wouldn’t they first push their folks to work more hours?

More unemployment gloom

June 9, 2009

From IHS Global:

The economy remains on track to bottom out soon—at least in output terms. We expect the rate of contraction in GDP to slow in the current quarter (to minus 2.8%), before GDP edges higher in the second half of the year. But a rapid recovery is not in prospect, after so extreme a financial shock. Economists may be able to declare the recession technically “over” some time in the third quarter, but it won’t feel that way for the unemployed, with the unemployment rate peaking at 10.3% in the first half of 2010.

SF Fed: Near 11 percent unemployment and a jobless recovery

June 9, 2009

The San Francisco Fed paints a gloomy outlook for the U.S. labor market with unemployment hitting near 11 percent next year and above 9 percent through 2011(bold is mine):