More Parachutes Needed

MORE PARACHUTES NEEDED….Jeebus. I should have waited until this morning to take a snapshot of the Wall Street Journal’s front page. It’s even worse than last night. Payroll employment dropped for the second month in a row, plummeting by 63,000 jobs in February, with the losses spread throughout a wide swath of the economy, not just construction and financial services. What’s worse, if you take out increased government employment, private sector job losses topped 100,000. From the Washington Post: “And in a particularly worrisome sign, temporary help services cut 27,600 jobs. Often, companies cut temporary workers before shedding permanent jobs, making that category a leading indicator for what is to come.” Here’s some reaction:

Nigel Gault: “The debate should no longer be about whether there is or is not a recession, only about how deep it will be.”

Jared Bernstein: “I haven’t seen a job report this recessionary since the last recession. This is a picture of a labor market becoming clearly infected by the contagion from the rest of the economy.”

Ethan Harris: “One month you can dismiss. Two months is a lot harder.”

David M. Jones: “The world is coming to an end. Yes, you can quote me on that….You almost never have back-to-back payroll declines without a recession.”

Joshua Shapiro: “With the consumer’s only source of support for spending coming from job-related income growth, a rapidly weakening labor market is the worst possible news for the economy.”

Kevin Giddis: “Based on today’s Employment Report, if we are not in a recession, it is a darned good imitation of one. We are in an unprecedented real estate and credit crisis that is whipping its way through the U.S. economy like a Midwestern tornado.”

Paul Ashworth: “The most striking figure in the whole report is that private sector payrolls shrank by 101,000 last month compared to a modest 26,000 drop in January. A decline of that magnitude screams recession.”

By the way, please take note of the headline at the bottom of the snapshot. I included it for comic relief. We could all use a little laugh, right?

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