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Unemployment Rate Drops… Except for Ducks

The employment numbers were released this morning and the economy added 112,000 jobs in November, causing the unemployment rate to drop .1% this month. Dig deeper and the numbers ain’t that impressive. Where’s the biggest growth? Healthcare services and leisure and hospitality account for 62,000 of the jobs added. It’s a golden age for receptionists in doctors’ offices and Disney “cast members” apparently. Telecommunications added 6,000 jobs, which is super until you realize that the industry has lost 300,000 jobs since March 2001. The one bit of hopefully good news? Employment is up in computer systems design and related services (10,000 jobs) and in architectural and engineering services (8,000 jobs). At least those sound like they may be jobs where you don’t need another job on top of that job to get by.

One number not broken out by the jobs report is that the number of cartoon spokesducks who may be looking for work is on the rise. The Aflac duck, which I find unbelievably annoying but who has undeniably worked (Aflac’s brand recognition has soared from 12% to 90% since 2000), is being demoted in the insurer’s new ad campaign. The duck, like children of yore, will be seen but not heard and will only appear in the background. Pretty bold move demoting the duck and one that could backfire since that duck’s probably the only thing keeping Aflac from being demonized as evil along with every other insurance company. To be fair, the duck is now part of Aflac’s logo, but that’s a consolation prize, kind of like when I got “promoted” once and had a new title but less responsibility.

Maybe the duck can hook up with the Pets.com sock puppet’s agent. He landed on his feet. Then again, there’s always Hollywood.

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