Portfolio Manager: ‘Real’ Unemployment Could Surge to 25%

See also: TrimTabs Report: US Economy Actually Lost 104,000 Jobs In January

With Wednesday’s ADP report and Thursday’s jobless claims data laying the groundwork for Friday’s unemployment report, there’s an intense focus on jobs from Wall Street to Washington D.C. and beyond.

But there’s really only one jobs figure that matters, says John Lekas, senior portfolio manager for the $320 million Leader Short-Term Bond Fund:

The U-6 or “real” unemployment number.

U6 is more important than the headline unemployment rate because it includes both the unemployed and “underemployed” workers faced with reduced hours who “still can’t pay their bills,” Lekas tells Aaron in the accompanying clip. “I think that’s a more representative number.”

More jobs weakness ahead. More bearish than most, Lekas sees the headline unemployment rate rising to 10% in February and climbing to 15% or 16% by mid-year. Even more dire, he sees the “real” unemployment figure surging to 25%.

Lekas says companies still are focused on cutting costs and jobs to protect their top and bottom lines. Plus, an in-house compilation of household data shows Americans are under water, with unpaid bills and expenses outpacing income by hundreds of dollars a month. That should keep consumer spending down, which means less sales for companies and, thus, less incentive for them to add to payrolls.

Posted Mar 04, 2010 07:30am EST
by Heesun Wee

Source: Yahoo Finance

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