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Jobs Numbers Point in Same Direction as Other Economic Data – Toward Trouble

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No matter what kind of negative economic data comes out, President Obama, central bankers, and media analysts gloss over it and point to the “great” jobs numbers as evidence the US economy is doing well. But in reality, it’s all smoke and mirrors.

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Last Friday, the media reported “better than expected” labor numbers with more than 200,000 jobs added in February and a low 4.9% unemployment. But as Peter Schiff pointed out in his Schiff Report video blog over the weekend, it was really a terrible jobs report.

The reports are only good superficially. Once you look beneath the surface, and believe me, it’s a very thin layer, you find out how meaningless the numbers are.”

Despite the added jobs, average hourly earnings dropped. Analysts expected the number to rise 0.2%. Instead, hourly earnings dropped 0.1. On top of that, hours worked fell from 34.6 hours to 34.4. Looking at the data together shows weekly earnings fell 0.7%. That represents the biggest drop in weekly earnings ever.

Peter has been saying for a long time the main reason the US economy is creating so many jobs is because the labor market is transitioning from full-time to part-time employment. Companies don’t want to keep full-timers on, so they are cutting hours and hiring more part-time workers to pick up the slack. The data in the recent jobs report backs Peter up. Of the jobs created in February, 88% were part-time jobs, and the vast majority of those were low-paying jobs in the service sector.

Peter isn’t the only one pointing out that jobs numbers aren’t as great as advertised. Former Federal Reserve Governor Kevin Warsh also says the labor market isn’t as strong as the unemployment rate suggests. He pointed out that an unwanted drop in participation by males of primary working age, a steep decline in productivity, and modest economic growth lurk behind the unemployment rate:

I’d suggest that is why the politics of 2016 seem quite at odds with the official government statistics, which the Fed describes in meeting after meeting as nearing full employment.”

As we’ve reported, much of the data points toward a looming economic downturn. Peter has been saying we have likely already entered into a recession, and last week Jim Rogers said there is a “100% probability” of a recession within the year. The optimists keep pointing to the jobs numbers as a way to discredit their claims. But it’s clear that the people talking up the economy are relying on administration spin, not on reality. The jobs numbers are pointing in the exact same direction as all of the other data – toward economic trouble.

This post is part of our ongoing series Data Dependent: Reading Between the Lines, where we examine the real economic data not reported in the financial media. Click here to read all our articles in this series.

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