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The unemployment numbers (again)

We just got the August employment numbers; unemployment jumped from 9.4% to 9.7%. That sounds bad, but as I explained last month, the unemployment rate is a strange beast. In unsettled times like this it bounces around a lot, so it’s better to look at the sheer number of jobs lost.

It turns out that we “only” lost 216,000 jobs in August, compared to (a revised) 276,ooo in July; both are a far cry from the 600,000 plus at the worst of the freefall. So rather than a sudden scary spike in unemployment, the real news is that things are leveling off. Within a few months we might even see the losses stop. Hey, a man can dream.

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