The May jobs report was a shocker, with nonfarm payrolls up only 38,000 and private jobs up a mere 25,000. A lot of investors and economists are making the case that this was a weird, one-off, statistical glitch, and that stronger employment is on the way. They may well be wrong.
If you smooth out the numbers with a three-month moving average, job increases have been slowing for five months. The three-month pace last December was 281,000 jobs. In the May report, the pace nosedived to 107,000. The unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent, but that's largely because 458,000 people left the labor force.
This spells trouble for the economy. And if you step back and look at the whole business sector, a case can be made that the U.S. has been in a mild business recession for as much as a year, if not longer.
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