COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

Well, I guess you can write off any interest rate hike by the Fed later this month. The terrible jobs report released this morning for September, and a dramatic revision to the August report, show the economy is a long way from robust. And, no matter how much Fed chair Janet Yellen and the gang want to raise rates, the news is just too bleak to move away from zero at this time.

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The Department of Labor said U.S. payrolls rose by 142,000 in September, well below expectations. Even worse, the August report was revised down from the initial reading of 173,000 -- a pretty bad number at that -- to just 136,000. The weak growth in jobs all but ties the hands of the Fed when they meet in the final week of this month and will probably put off any action in the final meeting of 2015 in December.

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One component of the jobs report today showed the average hourly wage has increased just 2.2 percent in the past 12 months, pretty much in line with inflation and not enough to scare the Fed.

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Remember how we were all repeatedly being warned there would be a massive negative reaction in the stock market when the Fed starts to tighten? Well, it looks now like investors are annoyed a rate hike isn't in the near future. The takeaway is simple: The economy is not strong enough, using the Fed guidelines, to start pushing up short-term rates for the first time in nearly a decade.

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The frustrating part of all of this is the mixed signals the economy is sending off. For instance, yesterday's reports from the major car companies showed sales at the highest level in nearly eight years. Some 1.4 million vehicles were sold in September, an annualized rate of more than 18 million vehicles. And the average purchasing price was more than $33,000. Even so, there are still 11.5 million vehicles on the road that are 10 years old or older, a sign there is still a lot of potential buyers out there.

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And, overall retail sales are very strong with the holidays shaping up to reach record levels. People are very confident about their jobs and the job market. Just a random thought: maybe job growth is so slow because employers are finding the field of potential employees is less than spectacular. We've heard over and over again how difficult it is to find people with basic skills and the employment disciplines making them good employment candidates.

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