Think the jobs report was bad? Wait until the next one

The US economy sputtered toward creating just 148,000 jobs last month. And that was before the government shutdown and debt-ceiling fight.

By The Week Oct 22, 2013 12:31PM
Image: Office worker (© Digital Vision/Getty Images/Getty Images)The Labor Department reported Tuesday that the economy added just 148,000 new jobs in September, once again missing expectations and marking yet another month of barely-there economic recovery.

August's numbers were revised up to 193,000 from 169,000, while July's sluggish numbers were revised down to 89,000 from 104,000, the slowest rise since June 2012. The trend line does not look good.

On the positive side, the unemployment rate scooted down from 7.3 percent in August to 7.2 percent in September. That's the lowest jobless rate since November 2008. And unlike recent months, "the unemployment rate declines seems genuine, rather than labor force dropout-driven," says The Wall Street Journal's Steven Russolillo. Past monthly unemployment rate declines have been attributed to large numbers of people giving up on looking for work entirely -- and thus not being counted as part of the potential workforce. But that wasn't the case in September.

Still, the unemployment numbers -- the release of which were delayed because of the government shutdown -- aren't particularly good. And adding to the unease is the fact that the numbers don't account for a tumultuous October in Washington. This report does not reflect any adverse economic effects of the 16-day government shutdown, which put hundreds of thousands of government workers on furlough, and the concurrent debt ceiling fight, which may have rattled the already fragile economy. Any damage from October's drama, which "caused consumer confidence to plummet," won't be apparent until next month's numbers are released, says The New York Times.

Economists say October's events may also warp the data the Federal Reserve uses to decide when to start "tapering" -- or winding down the easy-money stimulus plan in which it buys $85 billion in Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities each month to keep interest rates down and stimulate the economy. Earlier this year, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank would begin tapering later in the year if the economy kept improving in line with the Fed's predictions. That now looks unlikely. The Wall Street Journal:

Remember that 7 percent unemployment target for the Fed. Well, just a few months ago, Fed Chairman Bernanke told us that the FOMC expected that by the time we get down there, the Fed would likely have ended its tapering and monthly bond-buying would stand at zero.

Now, with just two percentage points to go for that threshold and the market betting on the Fed staying on hold until March, that instruction is looking a bit confusing. [The Wall Street Journal]

Some analysts are also blaming the sequester -- automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that took effect in March -- for the weak economy. Here's Neil Irwin at the Washington Post:

Perhaps the best evidence for federal spending cuts as the culprit behind weak growth is this: It's the only culprit left standing when you consider the other possibilities. Financial markets have been on a tear, and business and consumer confidence has been strong this year (at least until the October shutdown). Consumers have made major progress reducing their debt burdens. The housing market has stabilized, and is no longer a drag on the economy. One possible alternate explanation for the sluggishness is a rise in interest rates that has happened since May, when the Fed started signaling that tapering could be near, but generally it takes more than a few months for the impact of higher interest rates to translate into slower job creation.

In other words, there's every reason to think this should have been a good year for the American economy. Yet here we are back in the doldrums, experiencing the same ambling pace of recovery that has been all too common since the technical end of the Great Recession in the summer of 2009. Americans can probably look to Washington to assign blame -- and that's before the tumultuous last few weeks exact whatever toll they will exact on growth. [Washington Post]

But before you throw up your hands in despair, consider this potential economic bright side: The coming holiday season could boost hiring and spending. Shobhana Chandra at Bloomberg explains:

Faster hiring that leads to bigger gains in wages would help to accelerate consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy. Even as the debate on fiscal policy heated up last month, retailers began announcing plans to add workers for the holiday-shopping season. [Bloomberg]

In the meantime, stay tuned for the October jobs report. It will surely offer plenty of insights on just how much the shutdown and debt ceiling fight hurt the economy.

More from The Week

Oct 22, 2013 1:03PM
Any job that is dependent on the government is not a job worth having to build your economy.
Oct 22, 2013 1:39PM

" . Past monthly unemployment rate declines have been attributed to large numbers of people giving up on looking for work entirely -- and thus not being counted as part of the potential workforce. But that wasn't the case in September."  -


how does this guy know that?  how does he know that September's unemployment rate does not exclude large number of people who given up looking for work entirely? Did he go around and knock on everyone's door in America and count the # of unemployed people who want work & can't get it and are not currently collecting unemployement benefits?


Most of the jobs being created are part time with no benefits and/or  temporary.

Oct 22, 2013 2:16PM
So they move 14,000 to August from July but couldn't fudge September's 148,000 stinker. The unemployment figure is sinking because Boomers have given up and tired of the waiting opting for Social Security at 62-64 rather then 66.  Good example of high paid liars figuring statistics.
Oct 22, 2013 3:17PM
How can employment be so difficult ?   With all those government regulations and taxes there to help us, happy days should be here again.

Naaaa -- Don't think about that --- Let's figure out how to get some more out of the 1%.

Oct 22, 2013 3:41PM
Governments don't build economies.  They are a burden upon them.  They suck out capital to spend on items no one is willing to pay for on their own.   The government usually produces very poor products at a very expensive price.

The more you spend on government the poorer the people will be.   This is an undeniable fact of economics.   Investing in government is always bad for consumers.  

As government grow, the people will become poorer.   Obama cannot change this law of economics.
Oct 22, 2013 3:14PM
What about all of us who's unemployment benefits ran out?? Who counts the numbers of people out of work but no longer collecting?? 
Oct 22, 2013 2:29PM
This happens every year. All the gurus say the last half of the year will be better. It never is. They, like the government are trying to engage the wealth effect. It is not working because people have learned to manage their finances without regard to what the Jones are doing. That is good. Economy is bad.
Oct 23, 2013 9:44AM
So the job report numbers stink and the market goes up on the hope the gov will continue the $85 billion monthly buying of treasuries etc.  What a false, rigged economy we live in!!!  Stop the gov intervention and watch reality kick in thru a huge market correction.  This is a market built and sustained on manipulation, funny money and slick accounting practices.  There has been no real job creation unless you want to count the seasonal part-time retail jobs that pay minimum wages with no benefits or the services industries that have similar low wages etc.  
Oct 22, 2013 3:45PM
3rd quarted GDP will be the kicker.  If we actually see the real GDP come out then the compression will be totally undeniable. I'm not in the fog at all about these declines as I have been predicting them for several years now.  Globalization is sucking the last 100 years of building financial security out of America and spreading it around the world.  All according to plan.  JMHO
Oct 22, 2013 7:02PM
C-nb-c of course had the biggest Bought and Paid for the Elite sell-outs, Welch and Marie on together today. These SuperRich propaganda Con Artists keep lying about why most companies aren't hiring. You never hear Marie complaining about the Record Pay for CEOS as they fire American Workers only to hire Slave labor overseas. Simply put, Marie and Welch are truly un-American. They sold their Godless souls out to the Money Changers a long time ago.

Oct 23, 2013 2:21PM
My dream job is destroying and exterminating the ever increasing fragile, fractured and divided Party of NO Repukelicans, Looneytarians, Teahadist and Neo-Nazis into extinction. I love my job! Sadly, I will need to retire soon, because the Party of NO will be DEAD and my dream job will no longer be required. But I will enjoy my retirement and my SS pay, healthcare benefits and my beautiful memories of helping destroy and exterminate the satanic Party of NO fascist abominations forevermore.

God bless America!

Oct 22, 2013 2:28PM
Dont kid yourself the shutdown and near default had an effect in September as well.  We all knew that a shutdown was likely to happen.  The 2nd half of September was certainly terrible with regards to hiring.  Particularly positions in the government. No manager was replacing people who resigned, retired or added a position. They were all planning how to handle shutdown.
Oct 22, 2013 6:56PM
Brent, these are the same folks that cried about Guns in spite of the FACT that they now have more Guns than ever. Certainly as the Stock Markets set Records, they will complain about that, even if they are profiting from it. These folks are the worst kind, hypocrites.

Oct 23, 2013 12:08PM
How do you build a Nation? First you steal millions of folks from their Homeland while holding the Gun to the Head of the Country you intend to occupy. Then you established 13 fortified Colonies and expand from there. You then use slaves to build out the entire infrastructure at Zero Wages and Benefits. Then as you establish trade, you pocket all the Income and Profits via Slave Labor. Never mind all the given Resources are owned by the Natives were taken at Gun Point.

Now mind you, this entire time, Those slaves were not allowed to Read or Write and thus educate themselves to be a part of any financial Boom Times. The only thing they were allowed to pass on were more babies to be used as more Free Slave Labor. So when you talk about Stealing, it's hard to beat the Hundreds of years of Wage Theft, Benefits, and the ability to even keep and pass on their own Heritage. Much less have access to  any real education.

The Story of the Natives wasn't any better if not far worse. How bad can it be to lose an entire Nation at Gun Point. How can it be to see all the Natural Resource squandered just so that the 1% elitist are satisfied. There will never be enough current so-called theft to account for the past Hundred or so years of that. Especially since the working Poor and Fading Middle-Class are being treated slowly but surely, no different than those Slave and Natives. It's like a very slow poison Drip, Drip, Drip, until nothing is left. But go right ahead, buy in the MG version of the leech class while the 1% become far richer while the Rest of us become far Poorer. That's World History, and it continues.

Now here's the funny part if you want to call it that, We are willing to spend Trillions to protect a much smaller Group in the Middle-EAST while spending Trillions more at the pump for doing so. We did everything to make sure they had their Homeland Back after it was lost, shame how the Natives will never see the same. Especially as they were about Conservation, not waste.

You see, History is a painful thing, that's why most folks refuse to talk about. Accountability and Leech Class, that's a joke, we never accounted for Hundreds of year of Slavery and leeching off them while taking away an entire Country and resources that were never ours to begin with.

Oct 23, 2013 10:36AM
How do you support a government job?  You have to steal the money from the private sector,or use the printing press.
Oct 22, 2013 3:08PM
This story will make he party od "NO" happy.
Oct 22, 2013 3:19PM
The entire Modern Day American Economy is built around the Government's ability to facilitate Fiat Dollars. We have been Printing and Debiting our Way to prosperity for DECADES. Without which by the way we would all be speaking GERMAN.

The biggest Problem has been that of Corruption and WASTE. The Government is an Bought and Paid for Entity owned by Mega Global Corporations. Well over half the DEBT issues are due to outright corruption and waste by Both Parties. The biggest benefactors have been the top 1%. Meanwhile the rest of us fight over the scraps. That makes the Global Elite very Happy.

Oct 22, 2013 3:49PM
The Law of Economics is that it takes Government to create a Modern Society. The Law of Economics has proven that the every Joe/Sue would have remained a Hunter Gather without it.

Thousands of year of History has proven Governments worth to Society. Thousand of years of History has proven that it literally falls apart when Corruption runs rampant, public or private.

The more the Private or Public sector wastes via Corruption, the poorer people will be. This is an undeniable fact of economics. Investing in Corruption via a Government Bought and Paid for by Corporations is always bad for Consumers.

Oct 22, 2013 3:36PM
There is every Reason to think that the Economy should be setting the World on Fire? What's this guy smoking. When Corporations refuse to pay a living WAGE the economy suffers. When Corporations demand far more productivity at the same or less pay, the economy suffers. When Corporations are outsourcing Jobs to Slave Labor yet increasing the pay of those at the top while dramatically lowering income for anyone else,  the economy suffers.

If the Consumer is actually 70% of the economy yet their Wages and Benefits have seen sharp declines for DECADES, job Reports won't be great and the Economy can't do well. That leads to Digital pumping from the Global FEDS and Companies Stock buybacks to keep the Bull running. There is RECORD Wealth in America in the hands of the very FEW. They will only need to buy only so much. Meanwhile those that actually have earned higher pay and benefits don't see it so they can't spend and boost the economy. You can't spend what you don't have. You can't save what you don't have.

Oct 22, 2013 3:25PM
The Jobs Report wasn't bad. No, it wasn't great but calling it BAD is just plain poor reporting. Wait until the numbers actually are horrible. Meanwhile as the Corporate PIGS just keep getting FATTER, they can't hire Workers here by they can spend RECORD amounts on Stock Buybacks. But they just told everyone they can't spend because of Economic uncertainty. Then why in Hades are you blowing away Records amount of Cash on your overpriced STOCKS. It's that benefit to the 1% again, shush, shush, I won't tell. Feed the Pig, Feed the Pig, Feed the pig!
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

123 rated 1
262 rated 2
480 rated 3
651 rated 4
649 rated 5
629 rated 6
616 rated 7
496 rated 8
346 rated 9
111 rated 10

Top Picks

TAT&T Inc9



Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.