1. It’s Friday, June 3, 2016.
2. It’s the anniversary of the day Billie Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.
I, apparently, am not the only one who remembers that, as this great effort by Washington Post reporter Neely Tucker shows.
I’ve always thought Billie Joe and the singer threw an unintended child off the bridge before he decided to jump. But apparently this is considered a mystery.
I don’t think “Ode to Billie Joe” is the greatest song ever. But somehow, 49 years later, it sticks with you.
So when I woke up on the third of June, I thought “I guess it’s just another sleepy, dusty Delta day” even though it’s rainy and gray here in New York.
3. The May jobs report released this morning shouldn’t make anyone happy.
Only 39,000 jobs were added to the nation’s payroll last month, the lowest single-month gain in six years. The monthly figures for March and April were revised by a total of 59,000, which isn’t good, either.
The unemployment rate dropped to 4.7%. But that’s based on a different survey, and doesn’t give as clear a picture of the economy as the payroll report.
What to make of it? For one thing, there’s a little noise in the report thanks to the just-ended strike by Verizon workers. That counts against the May figures, and the settlement will distort the June figures higher.
4. But the weak number isn’t just the Verizon jobs. The total still would have been below 100,000 without the strike, and the number that signals a robust economy needs to be around 200,000.
It’s worrysome, but not panic inducing. The U.S. economy has been humming for awhile now, and it’s done so despite roadblocks such as the slowdown in China and the instability in the Middle East and Europe.
We’ll see how the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve react to the report. My guess is that they’ll wait until the June figures come out on July 8.
5. You’re a San Diego Padres fan sitting in Petco Park last reveling in your team’s 12-2 lead going into the sixth inning. It’s a good time for a beer, to chat with your friends and fellow fans as the Padres finish off a laugher.
What happens after that is a fan’s worst nightmare. Before the game’s next nine outs are recorded, your team goes from winning 12-2 to trailing 16-12.
I don’t know how you cope with something like that.
Wait a minute! Of course I do. I’m a New York Mets fan. Our team hasn’t blown a 10-run lead. Yet. But we have more than our share of patent-pending, rip-out-your-heart losses.
Alas, none of the San Diego media I’ve seen so far this morning thought it would be a good idea to interview the shell-shocked fans at the ballpark. I would imagine there was a lot of stunned silence and unfinished thoughts.
I hope everyone got home safely.