Free Markets, Free People
Today is a big day for economic numbers:
The Labor department reports that 103,000 new non-farm payroll jobs were added last month, a slightly higher than expected number, while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1%. The devil is in the details, as always, and the details are not quite as pretty. 322,000 people dropped out of the labor force last month, and the labor force participation rate declined to 64.2%, the third straight monthly decline. On the plus side, the number of people employed continued to increase, rising to 140,502,000, an increase of 3 million employed since January. Also, the broadest measure of labor underutilization, the U-6 unemployment rate, also continued to fall to 15.7%. The picture is decidedly mixed, which is, all things considered, an improvement over the picture a year ago.
Wholesale inventories rose only 0.4% in August, and the stock-to-sales ratio remained unchanged at 1.16.
Consumer credit rose to $12.0 billion outstanding in July, mainly on auto sales. This is an old number, so is mainly of academic interest.