Bleak views of the US economy abound. Real unemployment for August -- which according to a monthly newsletter report prepared by Leo Hindery includes discouraged workers (3.9 M), part time of necessity workers (8.8 M), and marginally attached workers (2.6 M) those on the unemployment roles -- is up to 29.3 million workers, or 18.2% - compared to the still bleak official unemployment rate of 9.1%.
EJ Dionne has today penned one of the most depressingly accurate homages to labor I've read, suggesting that we change the name of "Labor Day" to "Capital Day", arguing that we have "given up on honoring workers as the real creators of wealth and their honest toil. . .as worthy of genuine respect."
But I've always had respect for contrarian views -- and I found one in my inbox a few days ago from the insightful research operation of the ISI Group.
The preamble to the report opened: "We are not trying to look at economic releases through 'rose colored' glasses, but the distinctly negative climate in the U.S. three weeks ago has since brightened.
Something to consider on this rather gloomy Labor Day are the ISI Group's observations:
1. Monster online employment index continues to trend up.
2. Consumer confidence is generally rebounding
3. Chain-store sales were solid in August
4. Motor vehicle sales were solid in August.
5. Mfg PMI was better than expected (even after adjusting for the quality of the indicators, most notably inventories)
6. Household employment jumped.
7. Temp employment is up two months in a row.
8. Unemployment claims are trending lower.
9. Verizon workers returned to work which should add about 45K to September's gain.
10. Historically, September - November job growth is above the long term average gain
So, while today is cloudy, there is some hope that America's no job growth economy may be tilting slightly up for workers in coming months.
Let's hope the ISI Group's view holds.
(photo credit: Fred Prouser/Reuters)