To say the October jobs report was a surprise doesn't begin to scratch the surface. Not only did the headline reading on this most-important economic barometer come in twice as strong as analysts were expecting, but the monthly snapshot of American labor has once again found a way to simultaneously encourage, confuse, anger and confound -- depending on where you look.
On the surface, the addition of 204,000 new jobs looks pretty good, in fact, it's statistically above the 190,000 average of the last twelve months. The fact that it came at a time when the government was shut down and its elected caretakers were within inches of defaulting on our debt makes it all the more, well, unbelievable.
"It's a weird report" says Zachary Karabell, the head of global strategy at Envestnet and founder of River Twice Research in the attached video. "It's people tending bar. It's lower wage retail jobs. It's lower wage health services jobs" that the economy is creating, and "a lot of these are not particularly well paid and they don't have a great future."
And that's a problem. Not only for the 14-million American who are still out of work and looking to get hired, but more broadly, it undercuts the entire economy.
"If you're earning $18,000 a year as a bartender, that's not going to translate into massive consumer spending," Karabell says.Read More »from United States of Underemployment: Dead-End Jobs Prop Up Employment Growth