Friday, October 08, 2004

Jobs Report Lays Yet Another Egg for W

He's already got the makings of one helluvan omelette ...

"Nonfarm payrolls increased just 96,000 last month while the unemployment rate held steady at 5.4%, as 221,000 people dropped out of the labor force. The consensus among economists was for 150,000 job gains, although estimates ranged from 10,000 jobs lost to 250,000 jobs added.

The details of the report were equally lackluster. Some 18,000 manufacturing jobs were shed last month, and the manufacturing workweek declined. Meanwhile, average hourly earnings rose just 0.2%, below the 0.3% estimate. The household survey showed that employment fell by 201,000.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said bad weather "appears to have held down employment growth" during the month but noted that it was "not enough to change materially the Bureau's assessment of the employment situation in September."


Meanwhile, the government released a preliminary revision of employment growth for the period of March 2003 through March 2004.

The BLS said 236,000 more jobs were created during that period than originally thought, but it noted that this is below the 10-year average.

President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers had predicted that payrolls could be revised up by 288,000, and possibly as much as 384,000, although economists said those assumptions were aggressive. Benchmark revisions are based on more complete data from unemployment insurance tax records.

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