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The good and bad news of the latest jobs report

The good and bad news of the latest jobs report

The October 6, 2023, jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows an impressive increase in new jobs – 330,000 to be specific. That was more than anticipated.

Some analysts have suggested that the sudden increase is partly due to more of the post-Covid stay-at-homes returning to work. Economists and politicians had speculated how long so many could afford to stay at home. We may be seeing some of those answers in the latest jobs report.

The report has President Biden taking a victory lap around the White House – at a slow shuffle, of course. Nothing wrong with that if your only focus is on the number of new jobs. No argument. More jobs, in and of itself, is good news.

But there are some dark clouds around that silver lining.

The average wage of workers rose 8 cents per hour. That still leaves annual incomes falling below the inflation rate. The American family is still losing purchasing power. So, what you have is 330,000 Americans with new incomes and 330 million Americans with higher costs.

The unemployment number remained level at 3.8 percent. But in this era of high inflation that is not necessarily good news. The jobs report suggests that inflation is still uncontrolled – even after multiple record interest increases by the Federal Reserve.

We have to keep in mind that all those past interest increases had one primary objective – to INCREASE unemployment in order to drive down inflation. What this jobs report indicates is that the Fed is going to have to increase interest rates again and again until there is a real reduction in the rate of inflation. That is not good economic news for the American consumer.

It is the mystery of economics that the way to fight inflation is to increase interest rates that will ADD costs on the American consumer. The long-term cure has … hopefully … short-term side effects.

The economy is not yet sailing into calm waters. The issue of a soft or hard landing from inflation is still an open question. More and more economists are predicting a recession in 2024. This jobs report does nothing to assuage those fears. It may actually contribute to them.

So, there ‘tis.”

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Tom

    Yeah I was not particularly euphoric over the jobs report. I still have to go to the food store, gas pump, at minimum. Prices are still high. And I keep thinking the Reagan question, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago.”

    Biden’s victory lap included words that were backhanded slaps to previous administrations, mostly Trump and G.W. Bush. Biden said, “We’re not building top down (a reference to trickle down economics of the Bush era, and Trump tax cuts) but we are building bottom up and sides out.” For some reason I must not be included in the Biden plan. So far, my 401K has been on a downward slide these past three years from 10% growth per year to now 6%. So between food and pump prices and a downward sliding 401K, I am not better off than I was three years ago.

    Some economists agree with the top down approach to stimulating economic growth with lower taxes. Some economists like the one you discussed six to eight months ago, the guy from Chicago I think, advocate bottom up in that if you can raise the living standard for the bottom then you will raise it for all and economy will grow. He advocated making money more accessible to the lower class folks to build the economy. Well we have done that and all it seems to have done is drive inflation. Seems like I am stuck in the middle with neither group very concerned about my economics. I will go to the food store today and see how much my dollar shrank since last week. I feel a bit like Charlie Brown feels every time Lucy talks to him. In this case, Lucy is the government telling Charlie Brown that things are better and Charlie does not know what he is talking about!

  2. frank stetson

    “Well we have done that and all it seems to have done is drive inflation” is not true IMO. The inflation was primarily driven by free money which was given to everyone, on top of the tax cuts which where big business and top income brackets were the winners. Biden’s bottom up approach benefits have not really kicked in yet.

    I am mostly a believer in investing in things that have a good return but tend to build out from the middle while supporting the bottom in growing to the middle. I am pretty sure the top can take care of itself… BUT I am not against the top down and quick fix (stimulus dollars to citizens) approach at times too. Just not all the time and not the first-up. go to approach.

    • Dan tyree

      More gimmee. Gimmee. That cures everything. Let’s quit paying people to not work. The Bible says that if you don’t work you don’t eat. And the reference was to lazy liberals who think we should give them freebies

      • Tom

        That bible you are holding Dan also talks about not judging others. Many of those lazy liberals will be in heaven before you with that kind of attitude. Read the account of the Pharisee and the tax collector. You appear to be just like the Pharisee! Jesus was a conservative with how he lived his life and he was an extreme liberal with how he treated and forgave others. Who else would allow themselves to be nailed to a cross and then ask God to forgive those who nailed him. Who else but a flaming liberal would forgive prostitutes and crooked tax collectors like Zacheus? Who else would tell a convicted thief hanging on a cross next to him that the thief would be in heaven with him just for asking! Based on your comment about liberals, you apparently do not agree with the way Jesus treated others.

        • Dan tyree

          Actually I do believe in the way Jesus lived and the reason that he died. And the fact that he rose up from the grave. But people living off of the government while able to work available jobs ain’t what the charity of Jesus is about. I’ve seen people holding signs asking for help while carrying a pack of cigarettes in their pockets and one hanging from their lips. Also in 1st Timothy is my Bible the apostle Paul wrote that if someone fails to provide for their own, they have denied the faith and they are worse than an infidel I believe that monies should be paid to people who can’t work through no fault of their own. And I believe in programs called WIC and such to help lower paid people feed their kids.

          • Tom

            Yes I have seen these people too. And I agree that it is hard to see past their nasty habits when they are asking for help. You seem to recommend an idea floated some time ago that a person who smokes, drinks, takes illegal drugs or abuses legal drugs etc should not be given help. Ok, but my comment dealt with your judging liberals. So memorize verse Matt 7: 1-6, “Do not judge lest you wish to be judged.” The same way you see liberals is the way God sees your judging attitude. That’s all I was saying.

          • frank stetson

            The issue is the myriad of programs requiring the poor to have a consultant to help guide them through the paperwork. For example WIC stands for woman, infant, or child and you can get nutrition education, breastfeeding support and referrals, and nutritious foods based on your situation (pregnant, breastfeeding, postpartum woman, infant or child) according to the govt. SNAP is food stamps and you can buy most anything. In some cases, you can have both.

            Nobody “lives’ off welfare, except a few noticeable cheats; it’s a safety net of the life support type, not heaven. Although if you work 40 hours weeks for minimum wage, you might need both just to reach the poverty level.

            Then there’s all the other programs for housing, heating, etc. etc. —– seems easier to work…..

            Best thing Republicans ever did was convince us to put time limits on some of this. Only took Clinton to make it happen though. Dems really blew that thought process which opens my ears to at least listening to them.

    • Tom

      Well we did the Trump and Biden stimulus which went to everyone but the tax cuts did not seem to get to me, I still paid more. And now we got more national debt since it was all billed to the charge account.

      But we also gave rent money, loan forgiveness, extended welfare and SNAP was made easier to qualify, etc. etc. None of that was given to everyone. It was to lower class folks. These are all forms of money giveaways. And then to stop the run away inflation that Yellen missed, we raise interest rates – which causes us to need more money to service our debt which means programs get cut or raise more money which you cannot do when you are cutting taxes. Its all insanity.

      Again, the question I keep asking myself is the Reagan question of “Am I better off now than I was four years ago? ” Answer, hell no!

  3. Mime f

    Surprisingly (no being facetious) the government figures don’t align with Larry’s malarkey. The bureau of labor statistics tells us that we had a real wage gain (above inflation) of 1.2%. Not huge, but the largest gain since the recent bout of inflation. And Tom-avoid buying gas for a month or so, I am sure you will be happier with gas prices in November than now. We have been doing the “top down” (Republican) method of stimulating the economy for 40 years. It works well, if you are at the top (as shown by the ever growing disparity between rich and poor). If you want to benefit those at the lower levels, you put money into projects that will hire people at the lower levels, and see rapid benefit there. That is what biden has done-unfortunately the results have been clouded by inflation-most of which he did not cause. However, that’s not what the idiots like horist are telling people, so their followers don’t understand what is really going on

    • larry Horist

      Mime f … Gads, I though you were at least a real person — not a Mime. Or are you now identifying as a woman? In that case, it should be Mimi. LOL Your latest offering is yet another example that figures do not lie, but liars figure. I was unable to find any economist who said wage gains outpaced inflation.

      • frank stetson

        I’m your huckleberry Larry. “The rate of inflation exceeded the growth of wages for the first time in recent years in April 2021. In August 2023, inflation amounted to 3.7 percent, while wages grew by 5.3 percent.” Statistica.

      • Mike f

        Larry-Besides being ignorant, you are a bit lazy. I don’t rely on the words of some economist to make statements as above, preferring instead to go to the source-the bureau of labor statistics. I suggest you acquaint yourself with that tool and educate yourself. The numbers I quoted above were June ‘22-June ‘23, but their comparison of wage gains vs inflation clearly shows that wages have been rising faster throughout CY23 than inflation. Can’t really expect a Republican to get his facts straight..

  4. Darren

    I am sorry, after the first week of Biden’s changed laws, I asked my self if I was better just 1 week ago.
    The answer was yes.
    4 years ago is a joke!
    Obama / Biden is the worst thing that ever happened to OUR country.
    I say OUR country because it is NOT Biden’s country, his family does not pay taxes!

    • Tom

      Lets be honest. According to the White House, The President and First Lady filed their income tax return jointly and reported federal adjusted gross income of $579,514. They paid $169,820 in combined federal, Delaware, and Virginia income taxes. And their 2022 effective federal income tax rate is 23.8 percent. See **

      Overall in the last six years, Biden has paid $4.1 Million more in taxes than Trump. See *Lets be honest. According to the White House, The President and First Lady filed their income tax return jointly and reported federal adjusted gross income of $579,514. They paid $169,820 in combined federal, Delaware, and Virginia income taxes. And their 2022 effective federal income tax rate is 23.8 percent. See **

      Overall in the last six years, Biden has paid $4.1 Million more in taxes than Trump. I am sure the Chinese money and the influence money is not included on their tax forms. * I am sure the Chinese money and the influence money is not included on their tax forms.

      • frank stetson

        The Tom bomb, faster than a speeding Stetson. More powerful than a Frank on crack. Able to post entire novels at a single click. LOOOK, up on your screen. Its a dem, not a repub, no it’s INDEPENDENT man.

      • Mike f

        Darren was just confused-he meant the former President doesn’t pay taxes…

    • frank stetson

      Darren, do you have proof that Biden’s entire family pays no taxes? Because you keep saying it and I keep correcting you. It’s Trump that does not pay taxes……

      BUSTED – like shooting ducks in a barrel. this guy is so so ez to show up.

      “President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden reported Tuesday that they paid $169,820 in combined federal and state taxes on their 2022 returns. The tax payments amounted to an effective federal income tax rate of 23.8 percent on federal adjusted gross income of $579,514, according to a White House statement.” from Roll Call.

  5. frank stetson

    This article seems accurate if but a caveated piece of spin. Horist is heavily caveating his opinion, an improvement actually, without concluding much of anything more that some concepts. It may do this, it might do that, coulda been caused by x or might turn into y. While my opinion is different, I really cannot argue too much of Horist’s since he is using, mostly, good facts with one or two exceptions, and opinion is unassailable.

    His early paragraphs alluding to stay-at-homes returning to the market, a covid effect, is an economic suggestion, based on his noted speculation concluding with a “may be happening” conclusion. Hard to argue with cotton candy. Fact is new hires almost have to be re-entering the jobs market at this point; so what? That’s the basic nature of how the data tracking is constructed. The so what seems to Horist alluding that it’s covid and not Biden’s economic policies. This cannot be proven either.

    Horist is very factual on average earnings. He rightly indicates that lower wages mean less money and rising prices mean more cost, a Captain Obvious moment. Then somehow concludes this means Americans are losing purchasing power. He overlooks that BLS notes: “Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.2%, the least since June 2021 and below market estimates of a 4.3% rise.” As of Sept, annualized inflation is 3.7% and it has been rising for 2 months. Horist misses that the wages are indeed ahead of inflation AND that the next inflation report on the 13th is critical to prove whether or not we are back into an upwards trend. But for now, wage increase is leading inflation, it’s a miracle on Biden’s watch. I’m still your huckleberry, Larry :>)

    Unemployment, as Horist notes has risen from the July low of 3.5% to 3.8% for two months, back to back. That is up as intended by the Fed rate increases. Horist’s conclusion, “The jobs report suggests that inflation is still uncontrolled” is not true no matter how you spin it as a “suggestion.” It is in no way a mandate for the Fed to continue to raise rates, or even more pertinent, raise them significantly.

    Remember my professor’s adage: wherever you are in the economy, you have never been there before.

  6. frank stetson

    And to summarize: No one knows what will happen next and I am pretty sure everyone will be surprised. What I hope for, others too, is a recession with a soft landing. At this point, by definition, it can’t be 2023 so must be 2024 or later. But I see signs of recession all over. Remember, a recession is a rearview look which needs 6 months of bad news to be true. However, at that point you have the numbers crunched to prove it, you have been in it for 6 months. It may be over already even. By the process, given last q’s gdp growth was up, even if we get a bad gdp growth report for the 3rd q, it will take living in a recession for another three months before we calculate it’s a recession. Like I said, at that point, we can pray it’s already over.

    For unemployment, it’s just pruning, but it’s happening in a lot of places. Too many places for my liking. **

    This can be for a number of reasons from covid responses, to spending, to changing economies. For example, AI is in so AI chip guys are in the black. Nvidia stock started it’s climb in Jan, reached a record in May and has doubled since then. I bought in December and have already sold and I am crying but hey — can’t be too greedy. UPS and Fedex stocks are in the crapper, they are laying off, it’s the covid effect. If it stays this way, soft recession. If it increases, here we go into the crapper. The fact that Fall alone will kill many seasonal and farm jobs creeps into this as well as we pray to God that his son’s birthday pulls us out to kick of the new year in a splendid style. I am betting xmas sales are down though.

    For inflation and spending, have you noticed how most of the higher end brands are having deep-discount sales lately? Whether oranges direct from Florida to Omaha Steaks, these guys are all under price pressure as consumers choose lower cost alternatives. It’s the circle of economic life as we choose lower cost alternatives to fight off rising prices. I am guessing we all are making these choices all the time.

    Sure, it’s in my head mostly, IMO, it sure seems we are on the edge of recession but so far it’s really soft. That would be unusual but I always hear my professor’s adage in the back of my head.

    Perhaps it’s somewhat because of what Horist wonders: “It is the mystery of economics that the way to fight inflation is to increase interest rates that will ADD costs on the American consumer.” No joke. As I have oft said: inflation is the simple case of too much money in the system whereas recession is too little money. Too much money = I will happily spend more to get what I want, inflation. Too little money = I can’t spend what I don’t have so I buy less, buy cheaper and sales go down, layoffs go up. Problem is no one can accurately measure money, and we use interest/loans as our lever to affect the money supply. It’s like trying to turn on a dime with a sailboat tiller. A little to the left, too much, correct to the right, not quite, move back to center….

    To really be bored, here’s some commentary on counting money: ** Tom’s gonna love this one.

    IMO, it seems we may be peaking on inflation, hopefully unemployment will stay under 4% and we truly might see a soft landing. But I doubt it. I am pretty sure these downsizings will continue, spending will be the key and it has shown little sign of changing — which is a good thing, but a thing that can change in a month. The scary part is that like the bill says “in GOd we trust” and there’s a good chance that the constant news of firings will get consumers nervous enough to tighten one’s belt which starts the layoffs and then sit back until it blow over. IOW — I hope when it comes, it’s short-lived and nothing like The Great Recession on Bush’s watch and then plaguing Obama for eight freakin years of slow recovery.

    Personally, I have mostly exited the equites, hold some mutuals, but have grabbed those 5% fixed assets so in seeing inflation at 3.8%, I am ready to rock and roll through it, picking up Omaha Steaks for a bargain! Inflation report on the 13th, Fed meeting on Halloween. Good luck!

    • Jim lucas

      The people who smoke while bumming money are located on Stratford Road near Hanes mall