Man Without Qualities

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Times Versus Times

The Los Angeles Times reports today:

U.S. service businesses grew in January and some, such as wholesalers and media, hired workers for the first time in nearly two years, providing evidence that the economy's uneven recovery from recession may be solidifying. The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its index of nonmanufacturing activity edged up to 54.5 from a revised 54.2 in December, posting a 12th straight month of growth. A jump in the new-orders component also provided hope for solid services growth in coming months. "There's no indication we're slipping back into recession," said Ralph Kauffman, ISM's director for the nonmanufacturing survey.

But the New York Times, which must be reporting on an entirely different United States economy than the one the Los Angeles Times is considering, reports:

The economy has fallen into its worst hiring slump in almost 20 years, and many business executives say they remain unsure when it will end. The employment decline has become even worse than it was at a comparable point in the so-called jobless recovery of the early 1990's, according to recently revised statistics from the Labor Department.

UPDATE: Today's New York Times reports:

The nation's unemployment rate dropped to 5.7 percent in January as businesses added 143,000 new jobs, a shot of good news for an ailing economy. The increase in payroll jobs ... was the largest since November 2000, said Friday's Labor Department report. The overall rate dropped by 0.3 percentage point from the 6 percent rate in December that matched an 8-year high. Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to hold steady at 6 percent for a third straight month, with a more modest increase in payrolls.

What a difference a day makes when you're the New York Times! On Thursday the hiring downturn is so bad that we're counseled that its the worst hiring slump in almost 20 years, and many business executives say they remain unsure when it will end ... and the very next day it does end.

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