Why The Surprise Over The Jobs Number?

by: Herb Greenberg

"Confounding economist expectations." So said the headline on MarketWatch after the news hit that the economy has fewer jobs than it a month ago. Well, hello!

The only surprise is that anybody would consider this a surprise. In the wake of credit crunch, a reduction in jobs, as small as it is, was obvious.

Look at the Harley news. Or listen to my friend, whose friend from Colorado tells of a slump in the cost of membership at a ritzy country club in Colorado because the home equity spigot has been shut off.

Further to the point: As housing has stalled, so have housing-related jobs, which are to today's economy what the auto industry once was. This goes on and on... and on. And one rate cut. Two rate cuts. Three...ain't necessarily going to help avoid the hangover from this party that seemed like it would never end.

Along these lines, make sure you check out my story on page B3 of Saturday's Wall Street Journal that provides numerical evidence to recent pieces here that Americans have long been living beyond their means.

P.S.: Market's early decline suggests a further lack of conviction by investors. Isn't bad news supposed to be good news? Isn't an "imminent" Fed cut, per the experts, good news for investors? The beat goes on...