Ok, irrelevant is a little harsh. At least the NFP wasn’t a complete disaster. What is worth noting however is that we’re talking about the absence of a dreadful number rather than the hope for a good number. That should be all you need to know about the state of the economy: it’s still bad.
Why I Refuse to See the Silver Lining of Those Clouds
Some investors or talking heads may wonder why I refuse to see the silver lining in the jobs number. I can sum that up fairly briefly: there are 14 million some-odd workers who still don’t have jobs that want them, and most of those unemployed workers have been out of a job a long time. People without jobs don’t spend money. An economy which has a substantial number of people in it not spending money is an economy that is still falling. A NFP number that was 400K jobs would be meaningful. Anything less is simply static noise not even discernible from zero jobs growth.
If that weren’t enough, Challenger, Gray, and Christmas (the real employment numbers people IMO) have been announcing a strong downward trend in terms of new job openings while at the same time announcing a strong UPWARD trend in expected future layoffs. This has been followed up with sizeable layoff announcements by several major firms in the last month – particularly in finance (a.k.a. one of the high paying job industries).
I don’t see a recovery unless we start to see real jobs numbers or other indications of people starting to earn more. After all, there are plenty of high paying careers with a good future, but we still need to see that future and those projections to materialize.