Gary Dorsch of GMT Explains the Jobs Report, Commercial Bankruptcies Increase, Office Vacancy 16-Year High

Gary Dorsch, editor of Global Money Trends magazine, sums up the “important” jobs news released last Friday….

…And 14-months after losing 763,000-jobs in January 2009, US-payrolls, a key driver for the bond and stock markets, rose in March for only the third time since recession struck in late 2007 as the private sector stepped up hiring at the fastest pace in almost three years. Employers added 162,000 jobs last month, leaving the U-3 unemployment rate steady at 9.7% for the third straight month. About 48,000 temporary workers for the decennial census were hired last month, while private payrolls jumped 123,000, the highest since May 2007. Private payrolls rose 8,000 in February, the Labor apparatchiks reported.

Despite the sharp turnaround in employment last month, weaknesses still remain. A broader measure of unemployment, the U-6 jobless rate, that includes the number of workers marginally attached to the labor force and those working part time rather than full-time, edged up to 16.9% from 16.8% in February. What’s hidden from the masses however, is that the new jobs created pay about 25% less than those that were previously wiped-out, and in many cases, benefits have been dropped.

So, as usual, ‘all hail the headline number, ignore reality and push the equity markets higher’ is the chorus of today.  In the midst of all this job creating excitement should I even bother publishing stories that offer perspective?…

Commercial bankruptcies increase – WSJ WSJ reports the total number of companies filing for bankruptcy in the U.S. jumped by more than 20% in March over the previous month, as business failures in the first quarter outpaced last year’s total. The total number of commercial bankruptcy filings hit 8,208 in March, a sharp rise from February’s total of 6,655, according to new data from Automated Access to Court Electronic Records. March’s total brings the total number of commercial bankruptcies to 21,453 so far this year, almost 1,000 more than the total for the first quarter of 2009, a breakout year for business filings. Jack Williams, a bankruptcy law professor at Georgia State University, said he expects the rising trend to continue through the second quarter despite signs of an improving economy. “There’s no indication whatsoever that the trend is slowing,” Mr. Williams said. “The pace is picking up…and that was off of what was a major filing year in 2009.”

Office vacancy rate hits 16-year high – Reuters Reuters reports U.S. office vacancy rate in the first quarter reached its highest level in 16 years, but the decline in rents eased and crept closer to stabilization, according to a report by real estate research firm Reis Inc. The U.S. office vacancy rate rose to 17.2%, a level unseen since 1994, as the market lost about 11.6 mln net square feet of occupied space during the first quarter, according to the report released on Monday. The U.S. vacancy rate inched up 0.2% from a quarter earlier and was 2% higher than a year ago…The U.S. office vacancy rate hit a cyclical low of 12.5% in the third quarter 2007. Rental rates fell an average of 0.8% in the first quarter, a less steep decline that seen last year. Asking rent fell 4.2% from a year earlier. Factoring months of free rent and landlord contributions to space improvements for each tenant, effective rent was down 7.4% from a year earlier.

…Unfortunately, I find it impossible to create a disingenuous post. As the bandwagon rolls by the desire to jump aboard, at times, can be overwhelming.  However, I have dedicated my missives to “keeping it real” and I will continue to do so no matter how obstreperous the chorus.

About Bret Rosenthal

Interpreting the news that moves markets. Principal of RCM, LLC, and founding partner of the Fortune's Favor Family of Funds
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