The Jobs Report

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Over at the Curious Capitalist, Justin Fox tells us:

The long-awaited end of the Great American Job Destruction of 2008 and 2009 did not arrive in December, as some forecasters hoped it might, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported another 85,000-job decline in nonfarm payroll employment this morning. The BLS did revise November’s payroll number, initially estimated at -11,000, up to +4,000—marking the first month of job gains since December 2007. But (a) +4,000 is statistically equivalent to no change at all and (b) they can always revise it back down again. In fact, there’s going to be a big “benchmark revision” of the payroll data next month that will change all the numbers going back to April 2008.

That’s the depressing part. This is the scary one:

…it was only because the number of people reported as “not in labor force” grew by 843,000 that the rate held steady. The broadest unemployment measure, U-6, which tries to account for those who want jobs but have been too discouraged to look lately, came in at 17.3% in December, up from 17.2% the month before.

Now, forecasters are hoping that the turn will come in February, in part because the government will be hiring for the census. Though, of course, not if Michelle Bachmann has her way.