Santa’s Elves Just Got Fired

Remember the “good” jobs report last week? As Dean Baker explained, many of the new jobs were actually the “couriers” who delivered your holiday presents.

The sharp drop in the unemployment rate over the last four months (from 9.1 percent to 8.5 percent) is not consistent with the job growth reported in the establishment survey. The survey reported 200,000 jobs in December; however, this figure is skewed by the 42,200 job gain reported for couriers. There was a similar gain in this category reported for last December, which was completely reversed the next month. Clearly this is a problem of seasonal adjustment, not an issue of real job growth. Pulling out these jobs, the economy created 158,000 jobs in December, in line with expectations.

Pulling out the courier jobs, growth has averaged 145,000 per month over the last four months. This is somewhat better than the 90,000-100,000 a month needed to keep pace with the growth of the labor force, but certainly not rapid enough to explain a 0.6 percentage point drop in unemployment. At this pace, we would not get back to pre-recession levels of unemployment until 2027. [my emphasis]

Now Baker’s predicted reversal in those jobs has started to appear, with initial jobless claims up 24,000 this week.

More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, raising the possibility that a greater-than-usual increase in temporary holiday hiring boosted December payrolls.

Jobless claims climbed by 24,000 to 399,000 in the week ended Jan. 7, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 46 economists in a Bloomberg News survey projected 375,000. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls rose, while those receiving extended payments decreased.

Hiring by package delivery companies and retailers during the holidays to meet demand for gifts may now be giving way to an increase in dismissals.

These words–”couriers” and “package delivery companies”–are very cold. What we’re really talking about are Santa’s Elves, the wondrous people who make your holidays magical, particularly given how they help you avoid crowded malls by allowing you to shop online. In all the cartoon Christmas specials, those elves spend the off-season making more toys for the next Christmas. Not so our “modern” economy. Now, we benefit from their services, enjoy our holidays, and then <<BAM!!>> the Elves are on the street again, looking for work.

Merry Christmas!

Tweet about this on Twitter7Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook1Google+0Email to someone

6 Responses to Santa’s Elves Just Got Fired

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6

Emptywheel Twitterverse
JimWhiteGNV RT @emptywheel: Cofer Black Gets to Rebut Torture Report that Shouldn’t Include Him http://t.co/JFDmoh5cG3
52sreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @emptywheel: Acc to CIA's official story, torture didn't start until after Jose Rodriguez became CTC head. So why is Cofer Black involve…
59sreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Acc to CIA's official story, torture didn't start until after Jose Rodriguez became CTC head. So why is Cofer Black involved in pushback?
2mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Debate in DC right now comes down to nothing more than whether the CIA is or is not subject to oversight. Sadly, I fear that "is not" wins.
3mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Cofer Black Gets to Rebut Torture Report that Shouldn’t Include Him http://t.co/JFDmoh5cG3
4mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @AdamSerwer: Former CIA chief George Tenet is trying to discredit the Senate report on torture because it makes him look bad http://t.co
7mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel The things you shouldn't have to do on a Saturday morning; Consult Rizzo and Rodriguez' novels.
20mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel "Tenet is...relying on his close relationship with Mr. Brennan" to be able to craft "response" to torture report. http://t.co/0tYEznK4pM
56mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Wondering how many of the 5 quarts of tart cherries I brought home I can get spouse to pit in exchange for one pie?
58mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @moselmensch Did not know that--think the diner was gone by the time I ever went into KMart. @MichiganHist
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @PaulBaer1 Egads. You're right: 10 extra characters to weasel!
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @dbaich @azcentral So, they planned a two hour long death process? Uh huh, sure. Charles Ryan just comes off as sick saying that.
9hreplyretweetfavorite
January 2012
S M T W T F S
« Dec   Feb »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031