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Unemployment Report: October 2, 2009

The widely anticipated October Unemployment Report covering the month of September was just released. Let’s dive right in and take a look at the numbers . . .

I.  UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
July: 9.5%
August: 9.4%
September: 9.7%
– October Consensus Expectation: 9.8%
October Actual: 9.8%

>> LD’s comments: as expected and only getting worse. The underemployment rate is 17%!! (High five MC). Long term unemployed (those out of work 24 weeks or more) is 5.4 million!!

II.  NON-FARM PAYROLL (click here for definition of this term)
July: initial loss of 467k initially revised to a loss of 443k and now revised to a loss of 463k
August: initial loss of 247k revised to a loss of 276k, further revised to -304k
September: initial loss of 216k, revised to a loss of 201k
– October Consensus Expectation: loss of 175k
– October Actual: a loss of 263k, with revisions to the prior two months of a further loss of 13k jobs.

>> LD’s comments: decidedly worse than expected, this figure shoots a huge hole in the case of those who thought the economy would have a V-shaped recovery. Construction lost 64k jobs. The one sector of the economy that people would expect to support this number is government jobs. This did not happen as government payrolls declined by 53k jobs. This is an indication that cities, states, and towns are cutting payroll and services as tax revenues plummet.

III. AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS
July: 0.0%
August: +.2% revised to +.3
September: came in at .3 with the prior month revised to .3 as well.
– October Consensus Expectation: .2%
– October Actual: .1%, also worse than expected.

>> LD’s comment: This number inspires no confidence that the economy can expect a rebound in consumer spending and retail sales anytime soon. Be mindful that the prior month was revised to +.4%. That figure is largely a result of a rise in the minimum wage.

IV.  AVERAGE HOURLY WORKWEEK
July: 33.0 hours
August: 33.1 hours
September: 33.1 hours
– October Consensus Expectation: 33.1 hours
October Actual: 33.0 hours, another big disappointment

>> LD’s comments: this number is a confirmation that businesses see no pickup in new orders. This number may be the most disappointing of all components as it hits directly at what business owners view as the future business climate.

V. FURTHER COLOR
Although many Wall Street based economists, media mavens, and government pundits are reporting these numbers as disappointing, the mere fact is prior reports were reported in a far too ebullient fashion. Our economy is trying to adapt to a lack of credit. Meredith Whitney highlights this fact in today’s WSJ in writing, The Credit Crunch Continues. Expect an increased call for greater fiscal stimulus. The fact is the government programs have largely created safety nets and pulled consumer demand forward while the major structural unemployment issues in the economy loom very large.

VI. MARKET REACTION
At 8:10am:

2yr Tsy:  .87%
10yr Tsy: 3.15%
S&P 500 Futures: -3.2
DJIA Futures: -27
U. S. Dollar Index: 77.22

At 8:50am, Post-Report:

2yr Tsy: .85%
10yr Tsy: 3.14%, we did get as low as 3.10% immediately after the report.
S&P 500 Futures: -12.00, which indicates that the stock market will open up down approximately 1.2%
DJIA Futures: -104
U.S. Dollar Index: 77.30…basically unchanged. Recall that a lot of hedge funds and speculators are short dollars and long a host of risk-based assets. The dollar may improve as those risk-based markets sell off.

Questions, comments, constructive criticisms always encouraged and appreciated.

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Thanks.

LD