Today’s the first Friday of the month, so the US Bureau of Labor Statistics posts last month’s employment numbers. As I was driving to an appointment this morning, I heard an NPR reporter describe the Dow Jones Industrial Index as “plunging” in the wake of this report. And indeed, today the DJIA closed down 253.31 points to 11,240.26, down 2.2 percent. Sigh.
So, what happened, you may ask? A whole lotta nothin’ as it turns out. Jobs created for the month were a big fat goose egg (zero, that is) with gains in healthcare and mining offset by losses in the information sector thanks to the huge group of Verizon workers who went out on a two-week strike in August. But lack of evidence of growth translates into a stagnant economy, one that’s right on the brink of shrinking, and thus falling back into a recession once again. Yes, that’s right: the dread “double-dip recession” now looks increasingly likely. Hence the expression of discontent and dissastisfaction in the stock markets round the world.
Against this backdrop, President Obama’s speech about jobs and the economy to the congress next Thursday, September 8, takes on added significance. Given the declining state of our infrastructure, especially our highways and bridges, I say let’s go ahead and spend some more money to improve those failing assets and put more people back to work.
And for us IT professionals, my mantra cannot (and apparently will not) change: “Hunker down. Be calm. Stay put. Wait for things to get better.” At least, after three years of more of the same, I can’t claim this isn’t a familair refrain. Sigh again.