I cruise the news online and listen to NPR during the day and my ears always perk up when there’s news about the economy. But boy, it’s hard to predict where the economy and job market are going to go – when the information changes so much from DAY to DAY! For example on February 3rd (yesterday) Business Week had the following to say:
Companies in the U.S. cut an estimated 22,000 jobs in January, in line with forecasts, according to data from a private report based on payrolls.
The drop was the smallest in two years and followed a revised 61,000 decrease the prior month, data from ADP Employer Services showed today. ADP figures overstated the Labor Department’s estimate of private payroll losses by 500,000 in the six months to December.
“The trends are heading in a positive direction for the labor market,” said Russell Price, a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit who forecast ADP would show a decline of 30,000. “Businesses are becoming more confident that the economy does have legs.”
Woo-hoo! The economy has legs! I feel a glimmer of hope. Let’s get the economy running again! And then today, February 4th, CNN reports that according to the Labor Department weekly report there were 480,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week that ended Jan. 30. This is the highest level since Dec. 12 and up 8,000 from an upwardly revised 472,000 the previous week. What happened to those legs? How can we make sense of these reports when one day things are looking up and the next day the job news sends the Dow plunging?