This Week's Business News

Job Markets – Unemployment Rates

May 1997 – 7.4 – Latinos
May 2007 – 5.8 – Latinos

May 1997 – 10.3 – blacks
May 2007 – 8.5 – blacks

May 1997 – 4.0 – whites
May 2007 – 3.9 – whites

You know, honestly, if zombie-bots in the media saw those figures I suspect their heads collectively would spin around and explode – sort of like what might have happened if Linda Blair had had a cameo in “Scanners.”

Job Markets – Payroll Job Growth

Check this out:

129.83 million = net W-2 employment, May 2003
137.83 million = net W-2 employment, May 2007

Ergo:

8,000,000 = net gain in W-2 employment, 5/03 – 5/07

That means on average 167,000 net payroll jobs have been created each month over the past four years.

Go figure.

Breaking that down by sectors:

7.3 million = private sectors – 91%
0.7 million = government – 9%

Hmm.

Breaking it down by occupation:

1,125,000 = healthcare
216,000 = computer systems design
210,000 = engineering and architecture
160,000 = management of companies/enterprises
130,000 = accounting
85,000 = securities and investments
65,000 = insurance
52,000 = commercial banking

Don’t get the wrong impression, however. There’s also good news for young students at liberal journalism schools:

Wal-Mart and Costco are hiring.

BTW, for those of you who are incredulous about the reference to May 2003, well, think of the following and they will elucidate the same:

A song on the Beatles’ “Revolver” album, H&R Block, death and ______.

GDP Growth – Q1

Folks the job markets are doing A-OK – unless of course your name is Stone Phillips or you happen to work at a big-city newspaper – but the economy really has slowed down over the past year.

I mean s-l-o-w-e-d d-o-w-n.

Real GDP growth in Q1 barely was above zero and substantially was lower than the growth rates posted in the comparable periods of the prior two years: 0.6% inflation-adjusted growth in Q1 versus 5.6% in Q1 2006 and 3.4% in Q1 2005.

The anemic bottom-line growth rate posted last quarter was more a function of a spike in inflation than a total retrenchment of top-line growth. But still there’s no way to view that report as anything other than a negative indicator.

It might be a blip. On the other hand it might portend more than just a blip. Club Fed might have raised short-term rates way too far, much too fast. We should know for certain by the end of Q1 next year.

Private Equity

Buyouts, buyouts everywhere. This week it was Ceridian and Archstone. The former is a major payroll processor. Archstone is a huge REIT. Last week it was Bausch & Lomb. That’s on top of the ga-zillions of dollars worth of deals previously announced this year, e.g., Sallie Mae, Equity Office, Tribune, etc.

Vast sums of cash, plus cheap debt, plus a willingness to take on risks.

I *love* the smell of capitalism in the morning.

Of course at some point the private equity train will slow down or perhaps derail. Stuff happens. Club Feb might overreact and jack up short-term rates even further. Mr. Bond Market might suddenly reverse course and determine there should be major risk premiums on private IOUs. Hell, John Edwards might get elected and then via executive order decree the U.S. Treasury to be responsible for the costs of his haircuts and ‘poverty’ speeches. That would be a true fiscal catastrophe, no?

Until then, however, the private equity machine will keep engulfing and devouring businesses.

Job Data Source: DOL, BLS.
GDP Data Source: DOC, BEA.

"Bow your head with great respect, and genuflect! genuflect! genuflect!"
Surely the Media will make a big deal about this misspelling, right?