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Economy in Brief

Unemployment Remains Dead Flat
by Robert Brusca  February 1, 2011

There has been little progress made on reducing unemployment. Since the recession ballooned unemployment rates in the US and in Europe those rates have largely stayed there- higher. Germany has managed to reduce its rate noticeable and it stands pretty much alone in this accomplishment. Despite that improvement, Germany has not been able to a revive consumption spending, leaving Germany's achievement as a pretty empty one.

Unemployment has edged lower in the US and in Europe in recent months. But the way ahead is still unclear with austerity still being implemented across Europe and debated in the US. In Europe with the UK and Ireland, in particular, set to receive large doses of austerity and the UK economy seemingly already reeling under the strain the outlook for employment is still clouded.

But nothing in Europe is ever as simple as it may seem. Even with the UK economy having posted a negative GDP report ahead on the onset of its austerity measures it also posted a hike in its MFG PMI in January; a reading which continues on a long run of positive and increasing readings.

But nothing in Europe is ever as simple as it may seem. Even with the UK economy having posted a negative GDP report ahead on the onset of its austerity measures it also posted a hike in its MFG PMI in January; a reading which continues on a long run of positive and increasing readings.

Germany's economy for all its performance cannot get consumer spending into positive territory.

Spain 's unemployment rate has come down only grudgingly, but its new social compact has kept the wolves from the door as S&P has stopped downgrading Spain…at least for the moment.

And for the moment there are distractions in Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan and, of course in Egypt. There is a lot in play besides 'simple economics.' And there is a lot of complicated geopolitics on top of it all. Expect the market reactions to continue to be difficult to puzzle out as markets are going to have to sort out and prioritized the economic and geopolitical news all which is spinning out of control at the same time.

Unemployment Rate And Changes
Rate Level Simple Changes
Dec-10 Nov-10 Oct-10 3-Mo 6-Mo 12-Mo
EU-Urate 9.6 9.6 9.6 0 0 0.1
EMU-Urate 10.0 10.0 10.1 0 0 0.1
Unemployment rate and changes M/M% % Changes (AR)
EU-U 000s -0.1% -0.3% 0.4% 0.0% 0.3% 1.9%
EMU-U 000s -0.5% -0.4% 0.4% -0.5% -0.2% 1.1%
U-Rates Level Simple Changes
Germany 6.6 6.6 6.6 0 -0.2 -0.8
France 9.7 9.7 9.7 0 0 -0.2
Spain 20.2 20.4 20.6 -0.4 0 1.1
Ireland 13.8 13.9 13.9 -0.1 0.2 0.9
USA 9.4 9.8 9.7 -0.2 -0.1 -0.5
Japan 4.9 5.1 5.1 -0.1 -0.4 -0.3
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