The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest facts and figures on the state of the job market this morning, and the news was grim ... or joyous. Really, it depends on how you look at the numbers:
What you see above is private-sector job growth of 67,000 that's offset by more than 100,000 census jobs ending, resulting in 54,000 jobs lost.
So on the one hand, we lost more than 50,000 jobs in August. Not good. But on the other hand, most of these jobs were fated to "go away" in any case. The 2010 Census was, by definition, a decennial phenomenon. Already, 225,000 Census workers exited, stage left, in June, and another 143,000 in July. Toss out the latest batch of pencil pushers from August, and we're left with only a 82,000-person overhang to deal with going forward -- a virtual guarantee that when the September jobs data rolls around, the "Census data" won't depress national jobs growth as much as it did for August. But on the third hand ...
The third hand?
Yes, in economics, there's no limit on the number of hands holding unwanted surprises. So on this third hand, let's not forget that America's a "growing boy," with a population that increases by the day. For the economy to just hold its unemployment rate steady, we need to add 125,000 new jobs every month. According to the BLS stats, we failed miserably at that goal in August.
And honestly, I'm not exactly sure why Wall Street is jumping for joy over even the 67,000 new private-sector hires. Fact is, that's below the trend of 72,000 new jobs being created monthly over the past four months. Buoyed by bullish manufacturing news, Ford
But enough about me. Take the Foolish Rorschach test. Do you see something different in today's chart? Tell us about it below.