New Jobs Report Shocks AND Underwhelms

The most recent government jobs report—showing the creation of 192,000 new jobs last month—shocked everyone, but for very different reasons.  The doomsayers couldn’t believe the economy didn’t fall off a cliff.  On the other hand, those looking for robust growth were shocked it was so bad—after all, 192,000 jobs can’t even keep pace with new entrants to the job force.  The rest of us, however, were shocked that there was much ado about nothing.  The jobs report was so nondescript as if to say, “The economy exists.”  Which is nice to know, of course, but something we already rather suspected.

In the meantime, the National Association of Home Builders is confirming something else we suspected: Americans are getting bigger.  Bigger in our waistlines, yes, but we’ll leave it to the First Lady to tell us about that.  What NAHB is talking about is our homes.  Home buyers have been quietly (perhaps even surreptitiously) expanding their minimum square footage.  According to recent NAHB figures, the average new home is more than 300 square feet larger than it was in 2009.  The number of four bedroom homes is skyrocketing even as the number of children to fill those rooms is plummeting.  On the other hand, the number of stuffed animals is markedly on the rise as parents find them far easier to train and keep quiet.

In other parts of the home, three is becoming the new two as 3-car garages become more common.  This is only natural because many of us have long since funneled our must-have, never-used items into the garage, leaving no place for a car in our 2-car garage.  The 3-car garage—which finally frees up a spot for at least one of our cars—is long overdue.