Here is one smart man's analysis:
OK, on to the jobs report - remembering that outsourcing will continue as long as there are wage-spreads - meaning someone elsewhere will do your job for less than you because they have a lower standard of living and they don't have a car lease and fat mortgage to keep up. Also, remember these jobs numbers are for last month, and as we expect rapidly swelling employment this summer here in the US, this is rearview economics at its finest. Ready?
"Nonfarm payroll employment edged up (+88,000) in April, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 4.5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Job gains continued in several service-providing industries, including health care and food services, while employment declined in retail trade and manufacturing.
Unemployment (Household Survey Data)
The number of unemployed persons (6.8 million) and the unemployment rate (4.5 percent) were essentially unchanged in April. The jobless rate has ranged from 4.4 to 4.6 percent since September 2006. (See table A-1.)
Over the month, the jobless rates for the major worker groups--adult men (4.0 percent), adult women (3.8 percent), teenagers (15.3 percent), whites (3.9 percent), blacks (8.2 percent), and Hispanics (5.4 percent)--showed little or no change. The unemployment rate for Asians was 3.3 percent, not seasonally adjusted. (See tables A-2 and A-3.)
Total Employment and the Labor Force (Household Survey Data)
In April, total employment and the employment-population ratio fell to 145.8 million and 63.0 percent, respectively. The civilian labor force also fell over the month, to 152.6 million, and the labor force participation rate declined to 66.0 percent. The labor force participation rate was little changed over the year."
The release of the data this morning coincided with a pop up in gold and down in the dollar vis-a-vis the Euro.
"Why do you think that was?" I can hear you asking. Well, this month's ugly part of the number came when you read that the number of actual jobs was down 468-thousand...so to make it read well, the size of the workforce was reduced by 392-thousand. Had the workforce number not been massaged down, the unemployment rate would be going where? You got it: UP.
But here's the really shocking part: The CES Birth-Death model this month added 317-thousand jobs, so if you were to ignore these hypothecated jobs, we would have seen the decline in employment more on the order of down 775-thousand - over three quarters of a million for the month.
So what's the worst the unemployment number could be? 145,469-thousand working - and if the workforce didn't really SHRINK, then how about 4.9-5%?
In the numbers that I think matter most, Table A-12, measure U-6 (Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers) which I call the "Engineers flipping Burgers index, the rate is stuck at 7.9% - the same as a year ago.