Unemployment is a disaster. Why is the market surprised?


The unemployment rate now stands at 9.8 percent, we learned Friday morning and, to quote Claude Raines in Casablanca, the market was shocked -- shocked! -- by the news, at least initially.

True, that is a brutally painful unemployment figure. To put it in perspective, the nation hasn't had this many folks looking for work in more than 26 years, when Dallas was the most popular show on TV. The so-called jobless recovery is becoming more of a certainty with every passing data point, especially in light of Thursday's flurry of lousy figures that slashed 200 points off the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU). Even worse, it raises the specter of the dreaded double-dip recession.

But come on. Does the market need to start taking Thorazine? After all, you don't need a $1,500-a-month Bloomberg terminal to find out that economists' average forecast is for unemployment to hit 10percent by the end of the year.