A curious day for US stocks, which manage to hold to only modest losses after a surprising jobs report comes in far weaker than expected.
DJIA loses only 22 to 9487, after falling 79 early this morning. S&P 500 slips 5 to 1025, Nasdaq Comp eases 9 to 2048. Yesterday selloff absorbed a lot of the selling pressure; still, it’s relatively surprising that the market closed with such minor losses, given just how surprising that jobs report was.
And speaking of the jobs report, the economy shed 263,000 jobs in September, far worse than expectations of 175,000, and unemployment rate crept up to 9.8%. The widest measure of unemployment, which includes not only unemployed, but part-timers and marginally attached workers, hit 17%.
Everything in the report was bad: the workweek fell back to its record low of 33 hours. The idea was that improvement in this number would indicate employers were ramping up hours as business improved, a prelude to actual hiring. Well, so far that’s not happening.
The revisions were bad. July was revised to a loss of 304,000, from the originally reported 247,000. The BLS also said it’s likely that the economy shed an extra 824,000 jobs in the 12 months that ended in March, a far larger number than expected. It will report those revisions this upcoming February, but it appears the economy was even weaker than initially expected.
And fully one-third of the unemployed have been so for six months or more, meaning a lot of them are exhausting their benefits. While Congress may extend emergency benefits, that still leaves a lot of people struggling with a very tenuous lifeline.
People have said the recovery would be rocky, but if numbers like this persist, it may be more than rocky. It may be nonexistent.