Friday, August 01, 2008

"It's quarter to three..."

One problem with battling a bit of a flu bug is that I find myself going to bed early (around eight pm), only to awaken about now--two-thirty am--and needing some distraction before I can return to sleep. On the first Friday of each month such a distraction is, of course, the release of the previous month's job-creation figures by the US Department of Labor, which is scheduled for 8:30 am, EDT, or about two hours from now.

As you doubtless know, Bush's "strong economy" has produced net job losses for the last several months, an economic factor which, along with many more, indicate that the US economy is in the ditch. Some of the other indicators: record prices for gasoline, crude oil and oil-based products--everything from plastics to perfumes; increasing food prices; loss of high-skilled jobs in manufacturing, aviation and the like, producing a declining wage base; tightening of credit due to loss of confidence (as well as cash) by lenders, complicated by the slumping housing market which has cost homeowners trillions of dollars of wealth and dried up their source of borrowing. And on and on.

And so, it is with some trepidation that I await (although I may not be able to stay awake until then) the upcoming release of US job-creation numbers. It's predicted that there will be a net job loss in the range of 50,000. If it's substantially more than that, it's time to learn Spanish, bigtime.

Update: 51,000 lost jobs. The seventh consecutive monthly loss. Unemployment rate jumps to 5.7%, which is going to frighten investors, I predict, when the market opens in an hour.

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