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No heat, let alone fire, in jobs report

Commentary: Not even the markets believe employment picture has improved

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

One of many roads converging on perdition: quarreling with economic reports. Many people do, usually for political-conspiracy reasons, but professionals are trained not to. You're told from day one: "Don't fight the tape." Don't fight the news, or the market. Today I'm going to. At dawn today came glorious news: In February the nation added 236,000 jobs, and the prior two months were revised up another 61,000, in sum double the forecast. When you're hit by one of these surprises, you stare at the market effect before studying the report: Stock market futures rocketed before the open, and bonds tanked. Then ... think. A quarter of a million jobs in February? February? Howzzat? Internal aspects of the report do not confirm job heat: Unemployment fell mostly because of another shrink in the workforce; the average workweek increased by six whole minutes, not exactly flooded with overtime; hourly earnings rose at the same pokey 2 percent annual pace, $0.04 per hour; and in...