Neil Irwin is one of The Times’s economic experts, having covered the subject for almost two decades. He writes:
Many people mark time with birthdays, or the turning of the seasons. For me, it has been the monthly jobs report. For the last 13 years, at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on either the first or second Friday of the month, I’ve awaited the latest numbers.
Most of the time, it’s fun, if you’re into that sort of thing. I’ve participated in the jobs day conversation while on my honeymoon (by agreement with my wife, I could tweet about it but not file an article), and from a rooftop pool in Athens (after a long week of reporting on the Greek debt crisis).
There will be nothing fun about Friday’s report. It’s hard to even fathom what we’re going to learn, or what kinds of words can capture the human pain beneath the eye-popping numbers. We should despair for the millions of Americans who are without work, the potentially long-lasting damage to their families and to the nation’s productive potential.
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