Putting the Jobs Data in Perspective

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More jobs numbers came out today and while mildly upbeat they were far from bullish, particularly since  the Labor Department’s explanation of the 43,000 drop in weekly initial claims had more to do with a diminishing backlog of filers than with any real pep in the economy. Economist David Rosenberg at Gluskin Sheff has an interesting perspective on the short term blips in jobs data. To wit, it’s all relative:

“What is important at all times is to benchmark the progress against where we are in the cycle. For example, we are now well over two years past the onset of recession and we are 2½ years past the first Fed rate cut and normally at this juncture we are seeing +150k net new jobs being created per month. The fact that we are not even close to that is, in my opinion, the story beneath the story. Yes, we are likely on the verge of seeing a trickle of employment growth in the next few months/quarters, but it will take at least eight years before the U.S.A. gets back to full employment.”