Steve Chiotakis: The nation’s economy created 80,000 jobs in October, according to the latest Labor Department report out just minutes ago. The unemployment rate improved last month, dropping 0.1 of a percent to 9 percent.
David Kelly is chief market strategist for JP Morgan Funds, and he’s with us live from New York now with a little analysis. Hey David.
David Kelly: Good morning.
Chiotakis: So what do you think? 80,000 jobs… good or no?
Kelly: Well, actually, I think the details are better than that headline number. I mean, first of all, they revised up the prior two months by about 102,000 — so in a way, it’s kind of like getting 182,000 jobs, not 80,000.
Also, there’s a separate survey which they do to calculate the unemployment rate, and that survey shows that 277,000 more Americans were working in October than September. So when we look at the details, it is actually a little bit stronger than that 80,000 headline number.
Chiotakis: You mention those prior monthly reports that are being revised upward. Is the economy, do you think, David, growing faster than it looks like on the surface?
Kelly: Well it’s certainly growing more quickly than people think. I mean, people think that we are in recession — we’re not. The economy grew by 2.5 percent annualized in the third quarter. Even in August — you know, originally they reported August as having no job gains at all — you remember that two months ago? Now they say that 104,000 jobs were added in August.
So the economy’s not doing great, but it is gradually improving here.
Chiotakis: So maybe we need to wait a little while in order to see what the next month will tell about two months back.
Chiotakis: More than 100,000 private sector jobs I mentioned; government jobs keep being cut. Do you think these numbers will continue to be low initially?
Kelly: I think that the government sector is going to continue to be a drag. We’ve got a lot of fiscal stimulus going away as we go into the new year. And state and local governments are still cutting back.
But the private sector in America is gradually coming back here. I think people need to recognize that you can only keep the American economy down for so long. So overall, I think things are improving gradually.
Chiotakis: David Kelly from JP Morgan Funds. David, thank you so much.
Kelly: You’re very welcome.
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