The Bureau of Labor and Statistics came out with their unemployment numbers today (warning pdf) and there were some surprises. While the number of jobs fell by 17K, private employment actually increased by 1,000. The reported decline in overall employment is due to a decline in government jobs. Private sector job losses were concentrated in sectors everyone anticipated losses in: construction and manufacturing (which has been declining for 30 years now). Meanwhile the unemployment rate actually fell to 4.9% and average hourly earnings rose by 4 cents. There was even significant growth in the health care sector, and last months employment numbers were revised up.
While this data confirms that the economy has softened over the last year, there is no need to adopt the pork laden stimulus deal coming out of the Senate.