Business, Economics and Jobs

Macro chatter: A sad US jobs report and a slowdown in India


Shoppers at the Express Avenue Mall in the southern Indian city Chennai.


Meena Thiruvengadam

Need to know:
You know things aren't good when the latest US jobs report starts getting called the payroll report of doom

The US added 69,000 jobs in May. The number is the weakest in a year, and even its silver lining — that more people are jumping back into the workforce — isn't all that encouraging. 

Those new jobseekers actually helped drive the US unemployment rate up to 8.2 percent in May, according to the latest report from the US Labor Department. The number of people working part-time gigs because they couldn't find full-time jobs was also up. 

My colleague Thomas Mucha sums it up well: "At least it's Friday." 

Want to know:
India’s economy grew at the slowest pace in nearly a decade in the first quarter.

Indian growth slowed to 5.3 percent in the first quarter, and one Mumbai Standard Chartered analyst told the Associated Press the slide was “beyond anything that we would have imagined.”

The latest data show India’s manufacturing sector is slowing down as consumers in the world’s third largest economy are scaling back spending.

India isn't the only emerging economy giant with a manufacturing problem.

A leading guage of manufacturing activity in China slipped to the lowest level of the year in May. The new data puts China on the verge of a manufacturing contraction, the Wall Street Journal noted.

Dull but important:
No matter what you’re interest rate, you’re probably not getting a better deal than the US Treasury right now.

Yields on US Treasury securities fell to a 220-year (yes, you read that right) low Thursday.

The Atlantic put it beautifully:

We can thank Europe's continued flirtation with financial Armageddon for the recent collapse in yields. Investors prefer the safety of Uncle Sam when it looks like the world as we know it might end -- or at least the euro as we know it.

Just because:
Goldman Sachs a.k.a. the “Vampire Squid” is dreaming up ways to make money from Europe’s financial crisis.

Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn told investors he believes his bank is uniquely positioned to profit from European financial crisis, Fortune reported.

Goldman also isn’t putting all of its eggs in the euro basket. Fortune said Goldman has been exploring whether its trading partners could pay it back in other currencies should the euro fade into history and the lira or drachma re-emerge.

Strange but true:
Some of them may be Bruce Springsteen fans, but the Boss most definitely isn’t a fan of the world’s bankers and financiers.

At a concert in Berlin,nSpringsteen talked dedicated his “Jack of All Trades” to “all those who are struggling,” Reuters reported. Among the songs lyrics, is this line “The banker man grows fat, working man grows thin."

In another song that evening, Springsteen sang about how “Up on banker's hill the party's going strong, down here below we're shackled and drawn."

Springsteen’s message was especially poignant in Berlin, a city that is struggling in relatively stable Germany. Berlin, like so many other cities around the world Springsteen alluded to, is battling high unemployment, low wages and high poverty.