Well, it turned out that perhaps I was too cynical. On Friday morning, I posted the Labor Day Bad News Poll, pointing out that companies often buried bad news after markets closed on a Friday—and asking readers to predict what type of bad news they expected, if any, on the extra slow Friday before Labor Day, when hardly anyone is left around to see the aforementioned bad news.
In focusing on companies, I forgot about Uncle Sam (read on).
I presented my top predictions: major layoff, CEO ouster, and a lawsuit loss or otherwise bad news about a lawsuit. I also offered readers the choice of saying I was too cynical—that nothing too bad would happen this past Friday given all the bad news out there recently. And finally, I had a fifth option—for readers to write in with their own ideas of what bad news might be announced.
I shut off the voting at 4pm on Friday, when markets closed, and promised an update this week. So here we are:
The good news, I guess, is that nothing big seems to have come after the markets closed last week. Nothing I spotted, anyway-which could of course mean PR folks were successful at burying it!
As for our reader choices, the most popular vote—made by 40 percent of those taking the poll—was for major downsizing. (Wow, that is cynical—the idea a company would lay off a bunch of workers before Labor Day and try to bury it.) Next in line, in a dead heat with 18 percent of the vote each, were CEO ouster and major lawsuit. Only 7 percent thought I was too cynical, which it looks like I was: score one for the optimists.
But none of this means there wasn’t some big bad business/economic news last Friday. As one reader commented and another wrote in, the government released some truly dismal jobs news on Friday that showed no net new jobs were added in the U.S. in August—the worst showing in 11 months.
Technically, this jobs news was released before markets closed, so doesn’t qualify as being buried. But it sure does qualify as bad.