Just glancing at the headlines made the September jobs report look bad.
Digging inside the details makes it look even worse.
Wall Street fretted over the usual culprits Friday — the collapsing labor force participation rate, the weak wage growth and just the overall softness in the headline nonfarm payrolls figures.
But there was even less than meets the eye here, suggesting that the jobs market may have found its own "new normal" — a prolonged, secular malaise that indicates American workers will be looking at the job recovery's glory days in the rearview mirror.
"It's going to get a lot worse," said Peter Schiff, head of Euro Pacific Capital, who has been predicting doom for the economy and the likelihood that conditions will keep the Federal Reserve handcuffed when it comes to raising rates. "Right now we're talking about the economy creating fewer jobs than had been expected. There's a good chance that by next year, we're shedding jobs."
Some context is necessary, as it's never wise to look at one month's results and try to draw broader conclusions about something as complex as the U.S. employment picture.