U.S. job growth misses badly, sharply missing economists’ expectation

U.S. job growth faltered in December the Labor Department said in its monthly payroll report released Friday. Payrolls in December rose by just 199,000, sharply missing the 400,000 jobs consensus forecast by Refinitiv economists.

U.S. job growth misses badly, sharply missing economists' expectation

Megan Henney reports for FOXBusiness:

The latest figure represents the second consecutive month of worse-than-expected growth… The last time job growth was this slow was in December 2020, when employers cut 306,000 positions.

The figures suggest that despite high demand for workers, businesses are still struggling to attract new employees as factors like a lack of childcare, virus fears and large stimulus savings persevere. The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 61.9% as the labor shortage persists, despite the lower-than-expected unemployment drop.

“Today’s jobs report is a disappointing bookend to a historic year in the job market,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor. “The year ended on a sour note, with job gains slowing even more than in November. New and unpredictable waves of COVID-19 variants threaten to throw the recovery into reverse, showing that we’re still at the mercy of the pandemic.”

MacDailyNews Take: Actually, we are at the mercy of the seemingly unending and arbitrary overreactions to the pandemic.

The nation remains 3.6 million jobs short of pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.

The Federal Reserve has been closely tracking the jobs data… Hawkish minutes released this week from the Fed’s Dec. 14-15 meeting suggest that policymakers are prepared to accelerate the normalization of policy in order to combat the hottest inflation in nearly four decades, including raising interest rates and running down their $8.8 trillion balance sheet.

Jeff Cox for CNBC:

Stock market futures edged lower after the report, while bond yields were in positive territory though off their highs of the morning. Major indexes turned mixed in early afternoon trading, with the Dow up more than 50 points but tech stocks holding back the Nasdaq and S&P 500.

The data left the total employment level still 2.9 million shy of where it stood in February 2020, before the pandemic declaration. The labor force participation rate is 1.5 percentage points lower, representing a workforce decline of nearly 2.3 million for the period. There were nearly 4 million more jobs than there were unemployed workers through November.

The numbers “suggest that worker shortages were becoming a bigger restraint on employment growth, even before the Omicron surge in infections, which could knock hundreds of thousands off payrolls in January,” wrote Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

As we wrote earlier this month:

In general, human-transmissible coronaviruses do not disappear. There is no such thing as zero-COVID.

COVID-19 is here to stay. It will very likely become endemic, yet pose less danger over time. People will acquire immunity via vaccines (effectiveness TDB) and naturally as they contract and recover from variants like omicron since the partially-effective vaccines permit not only transmissibility, but also breakthrough infections. Influenza and the four human coronaviruses that cause common colds (OC43, 229E, NL63 and HKU1) are, of course, also endemic, but a combination of annual flu vaccines and acquired immunity means that sane societies tolerate the unavoidable seasonal deaths and illnesses they bring without requiring lockdowns, masks, social distancing, indefinite return-to-work delays, etc.

At which point, if ever, will some people decide that wasting away their short lives in abject fear of a bad flu, very likely engineered by China and partially funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, in a hysterical self-defeating overreaction?

Adam Gopnik was writing about a different “disaster,” but, going on two years worth of “two weeks to slow the spread,” his words from August 2011 are a rather interesting read in late 2021 and something to bear in mind as you consume “news” media:

[T]he relentless note of incipient hysteria, the invitation to panic, the ungrounded scenarios — the overwhelming and underlying desire for something truly terrible to happen so that you could have something really hot to talk about — was still startling. We call disasters unimaginable, but all we do is imagine such things…

That, you could conclude mordantly, is the real soundtrack of our time: the amplification of the self-evident toward the creation of paralyzing, preemptive paranoia. The real purpose not to get you to do anything, but to get you so scared that all you can do is keep the television, or radio, on. This is obvious, and yet there is something truly helpful, really instructive, about experiencing it again after a month of absence and silence. Two things that ought to be apparent all the time become briefly clear to you again. First, that the media, television particularly, are amplifying devices in which tiny kernels of information become vast, terrifying structures of speculation. The news business is one in which a minimum of news is really given the business.

And second, that the reasons for this are essentially non-ideological; frightened people need news for reassurance, and want to get a more heightened experience by being frightened still more, and the business the people supplying the fright are in (which we’re in too, of course) is not really that of dispensing information but of assembling enough listeners or readers, preferably still caught in that same spirit of credulous attentiveness, to offer to advertisers or keep subscribing. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, August 28, 2011

As we wrote back on March 9, 2020 in a tweet that continues to age like a fine wine:

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  1. MDN continues to be reliably sound on almost all subjects. However, it is particularly valuable to be so sound on Covid – a subject that had led many otherwise sensible people to descend into madness in their demands for government to achieve the impossible. The Gipper was right to assert that “Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.”

    The only potential flaw in the article is giving credit to the annual flu vaccines for efficacy, when studies suggest the programmes are pretty bloody useless (unlike many longstanding vaccines administered to children to provide life-long protections). Apparently, much of the “benefit” identified for flu vaccines arises from the simple fact that the oldest and sickest are not in a state to go and get their vaccine, so their deaths flatter the data.

      1. So stay locked into your house and stay away from me if that’s how you feel.

        Feel free to be your own doctor, your own engineer, your own army, your own school teacher and your own Nobel Laureate, but only on your property.

    1. Now that is a POWERFUL post, First Then. Brilliant. That is some science worth following. An actual scientist instead of a octogenarian government hack (Dr. Fauci) with a history of killing people to further his political ambitions.

  2. Overuse of a “vaccine” that was at best 80-90 effective is what caused emergence of the 🦠 dominant variants. In fact, there is a spectrum of variation. Because 💉 was widely used (with significant “breakthrough” infection), the slightly more resistant strains survived to infect others. Fairly quickly, they became Delta and then Omicron.

    All along, COVID caused mild (or no) symptoms for most in general population of healthy people. That made it infectious. Delta was more infectious but less dangerous. Omicron is making the 💉 mostly irrelevant as protection, but it’s become equivalent to a cold (or less) for most people. It’s evolution in action. The 🦠 “wants” to propagate. To do so, it becomes more infectious but less dangerous to host over time. The use of 💉 just made that process faster.

    Everyone will eventually get COVID now, and then have the anti-bodies. COVID itself has becomes natures better vaccine. The fear campaign still continues, but soon, the politician, “experts,” and media will decide its better to “declare victory” on COVID. However, it may not happen until after 2022, because those in power now have nothing for the mid-term elections except for the fear campaign. They can’t even fall back on being anti-Trump anymore, at least not effectively.

          1. As opposed to blindly saying something is wrong without specifying what is wrong in your rebuttal. History shows MANY times that the “experts” are not always right. In fact, they are wrong more than right. That’s what REAL science is all about, not fake politicized science that can’t be argued. Just trust the “facts” 🙃

            1. I will specify that each statement you made is false or misleading, and if this strikes you as implausible, the meta-explanation is that you placed a political filter in front of your science filter.

              The volume of information accessible to the public is roughly what you can fit into a clipboard 📋 and the amount of information the public can reject is about what fits in a waste basket 🗑.

              If all you cared about is activating public awareness and don’t mind being a menace, here’s a proposition: champion whatever ideas your opponent just discarded. Doing so will differentiate your position while gaslighting 😫 them.

              This even seems like a great favor to the public person who likes choosing between sides and the imagined time savings of curated knowledge and some portion of those clicking in for controversy will drift towards whichever side. In a pyramid scheme most people are both scammers and marks at the same time.

              Pesky experts don’t have this propensity to be fooled by such switcharoos as they dump landfills of rejected ideas—verifiably falsified byproducts of testing—and are not sold. More to the point their ideas are indexed and searchable because that’s the business. Trash ideas are worthless and far outnumber valuable facts. But they are not the customer, the public is. The public only needs to be made distrustful of experts if they’re in the picture.

              Vaccines came from Department of Defense level emergency spending to create horsepower in knowledge work, all-nighters, coffee and pizza, processor cycles crunching away calculations on server farms, proof of work generated at every step. Knowledge takes work not choice among options.

              All that heat and entropy are the artillery in an asymmetric war: the other side 🦠has the weapon of evolution and speeds a million times faster than us, we (at institutional levels of organization) can bring together conditions that would not exist in many universes of natural possibility. Individual people are in the middle of this crossfire because opportunists nurse distrust of institutions and counter life-saving advice.

              The experts have answers 😷 🧴💉💊 that will maximize your chances of chances of surviving the rest of this pandemic. 📈🏥🪦 Leave the death cult. After that you can vote for whichever politicians you choose to represent you.

              “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Alvin Toffler

            2. Wow! That was a great parody response 😆 You failed (in spectacularly fashion) to specify anything related to my post. I did not even say that the 💉 was good or bad. I explained the consequences of how it was deployed, like a sledgehammer solution (that did not work as intended). The policy was unscientific and naive. However, the upcoming “end game” for COVID was helped by the vaccine in an unintentional way. It shortened the time the 🦠 needed, to be filtered into a highly infectious but mostly benign illness. There’s a reason (not coincidental) the cold and the flu are highly infectious but mostly benign in a similar way to what COVID is becoming. It’s a stable end point that provides the 🦠 with optimal opportunity to propagate… Hosts that (mostly) don’t die, remain active and mobile, and have mild symptoms (like coughing and runny nose) to help spread infection. It’s here to stay and the sooner we ALL stop being cowards, the better. Continuing Federal policy for indefinite boosters of an increasingly ineffective 💉 ONLY makes sense if the goal is to maximize Big Pharma revenue and profit. Going forward, emphasize TREATMENT of the unlucky few who are more severely affected by COVID, not 💉 for all.

            3. Sorry, I didn’t notice the ivory towers behind you. I thought I was replying to a disinformation shitpost. In that case I retract my ad hominem and address your points, but only to show how little due diligence you paid before hitting post.

              |Overuse of a “vaccine”
              1) False: the principle behind vaccines are not analogous to antibiotics overuse. Bacteria are colony super-organisms that are much more alive than viruses. They share resources and genes even among different species of bacteria. Giving antibiotics prophylactically to herd stock to cheaply fatten them for market while making our limited repertoire of antibiotics less effective against more crucial medical needs constitutes ’overuse,’ as we are SOL when our 100 antibiotics are no longer effective. No such analogy holds for viruses which are much softer targets isolated as they are and have more limited options for evolving defenses.

              Vaccines act by priming our innate defenses to recognize antigens on a microbe. In principle the antigen choices are limitless in number but validation and safety cost 💰 to develop so at worse (not to make light of this) you loose thousands of lives and billions of 💵 if your vaccination program fizzles out. The default program is to slow the spread with public health messaging 😷 while emptying your magazines into the 🦠 as quickly as you can before you run out of time—yes, like a “sledgehammer” as you complained all butthurt.

              The concept is sound and legal precedent for protecting national treasure by forcing vaccination exists and is rock solid law 🪨⚖️ 🏛. You can be ordered to roll into battle and die for your country and just as rightly you can be ordered to roll up your sleeves and be inoculated in a pandemic.

              | that was at best 80-90 effective
              2) Misleading emphasis 50+ is good by historical standards. 80-90 is only bad in the light of low compliance with 💉and mitigation 😷 efforts.

              |is what caused emergence of the 🦠 dominant variants.
              3) False: pro tip, wipe the word ‘caused’ from your usage unless unless you can point to definitive support the highest kind. Vaccines shorten infectious periods and virulence making fewer replications so fewer mutations and variant emergences than infections in the unvaccinated.

              |In fact, there is a spectrum of variation.
              4) ?

              |Because 💉 was widely used (with significant “breakthrough” infection),
              5)Misleading: 💉worked as designed to provide deep tissue immunity from IgG antibody and robust T-cell response, not sterilizing mucosal immunity. IOW it prevents 🏥 and ⚰️. Nasal vaccination for IgA mucosal immune response is in development, so stay tuned.

              |the slightly more resistant strains survived to infect others.
              6) False: see 3 above

              |Fairly quickly, they became Delta and then Omicron.
              Misleading and glossing over important plot developments. Delta likely emerged from a prolonged infection of an immune compromised host before widespread 💉 availability and Omicron from a spillback infection into an animal possibly rat host.

              |All along, COVID caused mild (or no) symptoms for most in general population of healthy people. That made it infectious.
              7) Minimizing the impossibility of isolating the vulnerable, a documented fact.

              |Delta was more infectious but less dangerous.
              8) False: Where we’re you? Delta was the most virulent and deadly of all the stains for all but vaccinated people who continued to enjoyed strong protection. Every variant until Delta has been more virulent and Omicron might buck that trend, too soon to know and there are reasons to hedge and be skeptical.

              |Omicron is making the 💉 mostly irrelevant as protection, but it’s become equivalent to a cold (or less) for most people.
              9) False/Misleading: our main monoclonal antibody is ineffective on Omicron. Many previously infected and hospitalized are getting reinfected and hospitalized again making morbidity and attrition concerns as well.

              |It’s evolution in action. The 🦠 “wants” to propagate. To do so, it becomes more infectious but less dangerous to host over time.
              10) False: The pressures that cause a virus to become less dangerous over time are mediated by the behavior of isolation when the host is sick and is seen only in pathogens for which pre-symptomatic transmission is not present. I haven’t heard you arguing for isolation and masking; it’s all, ‘we’re all going to get it, might as well get it now.’ Viruses have a limited set of parameters to adjust and many like Ebola have no possible pathways to become less dangerous and become pandemic risks with each spillover event.

              |The use of 💉 just made that process faster.
              11) False: see 3

              |Everyone will eventually get COVID now, and then have the anti-bodies.
              12) There are thresholds delimiting better and worse times to get a pandemic infection. It took time for hospitals to establish effective treatment protocols, took time to develop, manufacture and distribute an effective vaccines, and is taking time to develop and distribute effective antivirals. Getting sick later is always better, all things equal, but never catching a disease is always the best.

              |COVID itself has becomes natures better vaccine.
              13) SARS-CoV-2 has 29,811 nucleotides that code for 29 proteins give it crafty ways to fuck with the body and immune system. The narrow intelligence and affordances of these resources can be shocking particularly for a novel virus new to a neighborhood where all of its old tricks are new. It is poetic justice that some people can be so distrustful of mutualism that they prefer siding with a transparent parasite, even literally.

              |The fear campaign still continues, but soon, the politician, “experts,” and media will decide its better to “declare victory” on COVID.
              14) Your arguments are slipping into ideology here and I have less to say other than that you are loosely slipping a lot of constituents under one umbrella of agency.

              |However, it may not happen until after 2022, because those in power now have nothing for the mid-term elections except for the fear campaign. They can’t even fall back on being anti-Trump anymore, at least not effectively.
              15) There it is. You are free to believe whatever you want in these areas, but I advise you to mind cart and horse. I have PLENTY of opinions but I won’t indulge in them here. Being on message politically and on message for the sake of public health skew far from one another. In the ground truth of reality being wrong literally kills and your disinformation has a body count in the probability waves you propagate through the world.

              |Continuing Federal policy for indefinite boosters of an increasingly ineffective 💉 ONLY makes sense if the goal is to maximize Big Pharma revenue and profit. Going forward, emphasize TREATMENT of the unlucky few who are more severely affected by COVID, not 💉 for all.
              16) False: You think that treatment is cheaper than prevention 🤣 A boosted course of Pfizer’s Comirnaty is $58.50, a major savings over a course of treatment for Pfizer’s PAXLOVID at $529 which itself is still a savings of the cost of hospitalization.

            4. Acknowledging your reply, in which you obviously invested a lot of time. I wrote a longer reply (even did it in Notes to copy/paste), but I can’t seem to post anything longer than a few sentences here. You accuse me of political spin and “misleading,” but you did same. We all have our own viewpoint 😏

            5. I’m sorry I would have liked to have read it. Did you try a different browser or device?

              Be as partisan as you want to be, don’t stop on my account. Feel free to use science to evaluate policy prescriptions, and if such prescriptions shed judgements for or against the actions of a party, have at it.

              I attacked your posts because they read as though you picked through the garbage to find every way to be wrong. I tried to account for how you came to your baffling opposition to all sensible guidance.

              If your religion makes factual claims about the world that are wrong those claims are subject to evaluation, even though as tribal creatures who’ve adopted the path of least resistance we prefer not to disturb one another’s faith. And if your religion writes tomes of scientific claims, that doesn’t make scientific claims that conflict with yours religious in nature. The problem is religions and parties don’t have peer review; your party is still holding cleansings. 🙄

              Was my viewpoint slanted to you? I don’t care 😉 My goal was just to be just respectful enough so people that disagree can think about my arguments not my politics.

            6. I tried, many ways. Funny that I could before, and you seem to be able to now. If you want to see it, maybe I can add each point separately, since it’s already written in Notes…

            7. You misdirect by implying that I ncompared COVID vaccine to antibiotics. I did not. Those two things are clearly different. And this vaccine is also different from every previous vaccine. A vaccine must effectively prevent the disease. This vaccine had significant breakthrough infections from the start and degraded as prevention over time. The key selling point became “it will reduce the symptoms” and not prevention. Why? Because the strains “breaking through” were progressively more resistant to vaccine meant to prevent infection.

            8. Delta WAS less dangerous, according to a CDC study. You fell victim to media spin. Here’s a quote from article using that data. “The study monitored incident of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in 13 U.S. jurisdictions during two periods between April 4 and July 17 in 2021. Findings showed that numbers for all categories were “substantially” higher in persons not fully vaccinated compared with those in fully vaccinated people. After the second period, which occurred between June 20 and July 17, the study noted that not fully vaccinated individuals are 4.5 times more likely to get infected (89.1 per 100,000 vs .19.4), 10 times more likely to be hospitalized (7.0 per 100,000 vs .7) and 11 times more likely to die (1.1 per 100,000 vs .1) from the delta variant.” (Search on first sentence of quote to find articles using this material.)

            9. Predictably, the media spun the data into “unvaccinated 11 time more likely to die!” But the raw data shows, during period of about 3 months at height of Delta, 11 per million died unvaccinated, 1 per million died vaccinated. That’s clearly less dangerous compared to initial COVID. Hospitalization and death were relatively low, vaccinated or not. 2 out of 10 infected were vaccinated, with less than 1 in 1000 chance of infection for unvaccinated. The media hypes the case count, and things like percentage and “times” this and that, not the raw data.

            10. You mislead by comparing the cost of ONE treatment to the vaccine at an individual level. As shown in CDC study data above, only a VERY small percentage of population needs specialized treatment. Everyone else (who is infected) recovers using their free immune system. And not all “treatment” requires expensive hospitalization, it can be a prescription for pills. The real comparison is between treating the very few versus at least two jabs plus ongoing boosters for “everyone” (hundreds of billions in U.S.). Which do you think Big Pharma wants, to maximize profit? They even want to jab the kids.

  3. Thank you MDN for speaking on this. Sadly that kind of speaking isn’t acceptable. There isn’t any other way than to call it a severe overreaction. The amount of harm we’ve caused in the name of keeping people protected is sad. The huge amount of suffering that will occur for many many years is sad. Seeing so many not care and act viscerally in their fearf without ever asking a question is sad (and is why the overreaction has marched on without any serious debate as to what’s best, what the the cost is to all people most especially children – a group that was never in any tangible danger).

  4. Wait a second, just yesterday I heard the POTUS tell us everything was going unbelievably well. Hmmmm. Let’s see first he lied about Uniting America, then he lied about Afghanistan, and lately he’s been spouting anti-science rhetoric about the Omicron, and he makes no distinction between the unvaccinated who have natural immunity and those who don’t. I think the “Big Guy” is lying…AGAIN. I have lost all respect for anyone at this point who think Joe Biden is, in any way whatsoever, a decent human being.

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