1. "Stocks Soar on Surprisingly Strong July Job Report" (Associated Press)
Stocks are surging on Wall Street, breaking a four-day losing streak, after the government reported a sharp pickup in hiring by U.S. employers in July.
The Dow Jones industrial average shot up 226 points to 13,105 as of 3 p.m. on Friday. The Dow was heading for its best day since June 29.
Markets had been slumping all week after central banks in the U.S and Europe took no new action to shore up the economy, as many investors had hoped.
The Labor Department's closely watched monthly jobs report gave investors assurance that the U.S. economy may be doing better all on its own. U.S. employers added 163,000 jobs last month, a sharp turnaround following months of sluggish hiring.
(Editor's note: so, stocks were apparently down all week because central bankers sat on their hands, but rallied today because this morning's "good" data means they can keep doing so?)
2. "Look How Much The Unemployment Rate Really Rose" (Business Insider)
The unemployment rate ticked up from 8.2% to 8.3%.
But Eddy Elfenbein reveals the full numbers.
Unemployment went from 8.217% to 8.254%.
(Editor's note: how desperate do you have to be to suggest that one place to the right of the decimal point is not enough to tell us what is really going on?)
3. "Comeback Nation: Why the U.S. Economy Is Much Stronger Than You Think" (The Atlantic)
Polls show that a majority of Americans think China is already the world's "leading" economy, even though it is still about one third the size of the U.S. economy. The reality is that, at 2.5 percent growth, the US remains the fastest-growing rich economy, and is in fact regaining some of the recent ground lost to newcomers like China.
America's performance should be measured against the current competition, not against the records it set in the 1990s or 2000s.
(Editor's note: aside from the fact that a great deal of quantitative data [e.g., the very high U-6 unemployment rate] and qualitative data [e.g., numerous surveys that reveal the majority of Americans believe the U.S. remains in a recession] is at odds with the official GDP statistics, why should the notion that we are the best house in a bad neighborhood -- a situation that already looks to be changing for the worse -- be viewed as a "comeback"?)
4. "The Greatest Economic Indicator of All Goes Positive!" (The Reformed Broker)
World of Warcraft (WoW) subscriptions are at their lowest level since 2007.
Activision Blizzard has disclosed the video game had just over nine million paying users at the end of June. That is down from a high of more than 12 million two years ago.
That's right, the role-players are emerging from mom's basement at a record pace. This is the lowest rate of World of Warcraft membership since the last economic peak, 2007. The malcontents and misanthropes who've spent the past five years hiding out in a magical land where dragons can be slayed and female warriors will let you touch their breasts are coming out of the darkness.
They are laying down their virtual battle axes, rejoining the productive economy and the labor force. Some of them may even move out, leading to even more economic stimulus in the form of household formation. Some of them might even get married and have children! "Some" I said!
People retreat into these fantasy worlds in dire economic times, but they end up coming back to the real world once there is proof that there is something here worth doing.
(Editor's note: why is there no mention of the fact that WoW is an 8-year old game, the video game industry has generally been slowing, and activity hs been shifting towards other platforms [e.g., mobile]. Is this the best the bulls can offer?)