The November jobs report came in worse than predicted. Recent reports suggesting that consumers were spending more money and that first-time unemployment claims were dropping suggested that the Great Recession might be coming to an end in 2010. Alas, the jobs report shatters that idea for the short-term.
A recovery without new jobs isn’t worth the paper it’s statistics are printed on. Ongoing economic recovery requires that not just the people who are currently employed go back to spending and non-fear based economic decisions, but also that more people join their ranks. Unfortunately, that can’t happen if people are not returning to being employed.
Smart money decisions will swing from taking advantage of low prices and low interest rates to saving cash. While increasing savings is good on a personal level, it isn’t necessarily good for the economy overall.
The possibility that jobless benefits will begin to run out for millions of Americans only adds an additional weight to the overall economy. Put it together with States losing billions of dollars worth of Federal money from economic stimulus programs ending in 2011, and you have a lot of negatives pulling on the first quarter of 2011.
The Federal Reserve’s recent announcement to continue providing monetary stimulus is no doubt tied to the expanding scope of economic concerns. Whether the Fed can keep the economy from falling backwards is unknown, but it can blunt the effects of all the negatives lining up against a strong economic recovery next year.