When "good" news isn't good enough

by SixFigureStart | November 04, 2009

  • My Vault
It's coming to it when good news is presented as "we lost less jobs last month than we thought we were going to." Worse yet is the realization that losing less than 200,000 jobs in a month (or roughly the population of Richmond, Virginia) is going to be a cause for celebration. Signs of the times indeed: imagine the whooping and hollering when the economy adds back as much as a single job (just don't ask me to predict when that'll be).

Prompting this, obviously, is the news that the pace of layoffs fell in October, with CNBC reporting that private employers cut a mere 203,000 jobs last month, around 10 percent less than expected and the smallest private job loss since July 2008. Better yet, estimates for the number of people likely to be joining the unemployment line in November dropped as well.

Guess we'll be seeing lots more of that kind of happy-talk as the contraction in the job market continues to slow. There's nothing those folks in the media like more than being able to haul out a "lowest number of losses since" stat. The one we're really hoping comes along soon, though, is the one that reads "first time the economy has added jobs since…", to be swiftly followed by "first time unemployment has been below 9/8/7/6 percent since…" When those stats start showing up, you'll know that recovery is here. (And the pessimist in me says you'll also know what to do: start preparing for the next downturn.)

--Posted by Phil Stott, Vault.com

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