Based on the headline from the latest Jobs Friday report you wouldn’t know that we are still mired in an economic emergency—–one apparently so extreme that it might entail moving to the 81st straight month of zero interest rates at next week’s FOMC meeting. After all, the unemployment rate came in smack-dab on the Fed’s full-employment target at 5.1%.
But that’s not the half of it. The August unemployment rate was also in the lowest quintile of modern history.
That’s right. There have been 535 monthly jobs reports since 1970, yet in only 98 months or 18% of the time did the unemployment rate post at 5.1% or lower.
In a word, the official unemployment rate is now in what has been the macroeconomic end zone for the past 45 years. Might this suggest that the emergency is over and done?
Not at all. The talking heads have been out in force insisting on yet another deferral of “lift-off” on the grounds that the economy is allegedly still fragile and that the establishment survey number at 173,000 jobs came in on the light side. Even the so-called centrists on the Fed—–Stanley Fischer and John Williams—–have gone to full-bore, open-mouth, two-armed economist mode, jabbering incoherently while they await more “in-coming” economic data.
Self-evidently, the only “incoming” information