The September employment report arrived at dawn this morning, in the short term reinforcing economic optimists, dashing hopes for mortgage rates to fall to refi levels (the market is stuck near 6.5 percent), and likely to put the Fed on hold. In the long run, this week's economic data settled nothing. Any investor, broker, business or employee plugged into the global engine feels strength and fears nothing but inflation. Everybody else is worried about household budgets -- and the house. The first week of each month brings two definitive reports on the immediately prior month. Payrolls gained 110,000 jobs in September, about the weakish four-month average, August's 4,000 decline revised to an 89,000 gain after the Labor Department remembered to add school teachers (not quite as incompetent as it sounds, as school openings vary year-to-year and locally; the difficulty in measuring employment and a lot of other things is "seasonal adjustment"). The second real-time data, surveys by the ...
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