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March 09, 2007

Cowbell

Unemployment drops to 4.5%; previous monthly employment gains adjusted upwards (of course).

The nation's unemployment rate dipped to 4.5 percent in February even as big losses of construction and factory jobs restrained overall payroll growth. Wages grew briskly.

...

[J]ob gains in the previous two months turned out to be stronger than previously estimated. Employers added 226,000 new jobs in December, versus the 206,000 last estimated. Payrolls grew by 146,000 in January, up from a previous estimate of 111,000.

The new tally of jobs added to the economy in February was close to economists' forecast for a gain of around 100,000. They had predicted the unemployment rate would hold steady at 4.6 percent.

Workers' wages grew quickly last month.

Average hourly earnings rose to $17.16, a 0.4 percent increase from January. That was slightly faster than the 0.3 percent gain economists were expecting. Over the 12 months ending in February, wages grew by 4.1 percent.

Strong wage growth is welcome by workers and supports consumer spending, a key ingredient to the country's economic health. But a rapid pickup - if sustained and not blunted by other economic forces - can raise fears about inflation. Spiraling inflation would whittle away any wage gains, hurting workers' wallets, and isn't good for the overall economy, either.

Trade deficit shrinks due to "record-breaking" exports:

The US trade deficit narrowed 3.8 percent in January to 59.1 billion dollars thanks to record-breaking export growth, the Commerce Department said Friday.

It was a bigger drop than expected on Wall Street, where analysts saw a deficit of 60.0 billion dollars, and marked the steepest change in the trade figure since October.

An improving trade picture could be good for first-quarter US economic growth, as a higher deficit subtracts from gross domestic product.

US households' net worth "skyrockets:"

he net worth of U.S. households climbed to a record high in the final quarter of last year, boosted mostly by gains on stocks, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday.

Net worth the difference between households' total assets, such as houses and bank accounts, and their total liabilities, such as mortgages and credit card debt, totaled $55.6 trillion in the October-to-December quarter.

That marked a 2.5 percent growth rate from the third quarter, the previous quarterly record high. Stocks gains helped fuel the increase in net worth, although real-estate gains played a role, too.

For all of last year, households' net worth rose by 7.4 percent, a slower pace than the 7.9 percent increase registered in 2005.

...

Economists said Thursday's report suggest households' finances are holding up fairly well to any strains caused by the troubled housing market and well as some sluggishness in overall economic growth. Analysts said that's because the jobs climate remains in good shape and income growth has picked up.

A lot of jobs were cut in the construction sector, and some more in the factory sector, all due to the slow in home-building, but no one ever expected that to continue forever. Most worry that boom went on unsustainably long. In any event, those losses were offset by gains in other sectors.

I've been trying to find a forgotten hottie from the eighties. Alas, the internet, too, has forgotten them. This is the best I can do. Jennifer Runyon, the blonde chick who is clearly not really a blonde but somehow really makes that work to her advantage:

cast_crew_jennifer_runyon.jpg


And a little beefcake:


"Hey, Brian Williams? Eat me. And David Gregory
can play with my pickle while you do.
"


digg this
posted by Ace at 12:45 PM

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