August Jobs Report

by Kevin Hassett

Today’s jobs report was a disappointment, to be sure. Initial claims for unemployment insurance have trended steadily down, but hiring continues to be so weak that the jobs picture can’t quite turn the corner. This is likely in part because the pool of applicants includes many long-term unemployed, who are very difficult to place.

The big concern going forward is that the market response to a mediocre number indicates that it has baked in all the good news. That is a concern because there is so much uncertainty about to hit the front burner. The debt-limit honest-to-goodness hard deadline is November first, the fed is set to begin tapering, a stormy confirmation of a new fed chair is sure to come, and then there is Syria.

The economy is healing; auto sales and durable purchases have lifted off in a way that typically presages big jobs numbers. We can only hope that Washington policymakers don’t mess it up again.

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