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PhillyInc muses about weak jobs data

The May employment report was weak and raises all sorts of questions about what's next.

Nothing like an early morning business meeting to knock me off-schedule.

So you already know that the unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent and employment rose by just 54,000 jobs in May. Those are a bad figures, given that economists had been forecasting (hoping, wishing, dreaming?) that payrolls would rise by 150,000.

The questions for all of us are: Now what? Is the job market really going to improve in the second half of the year?

Were the weak spring employment numbers simply the result of unusual events, such as the Japanese triple-disaster that disrupted supply chains and flooding and tornadoes in the Midwest?

Or is hiring still off the table at most companies, large and small?

I don't have any answers, I'm afraid. But the data do point to weaker economic growth in the United States. And we're seeing economists generally revising their estimates of gross domestic product downward.

The danger is getting stuck in some negative feedback loop where bad data reduces consumer/business confidence, prompting everyone to hold back spending, and thus producing more bad data. I'm not saying that's the situation the U.S. is in now, it's just something keep in mind on what is an otherwise glorious day on the streets of Philadelphia.