It's about jobs, not Jobs

A friend of mine who owns a pile of Apple shares, which have fallen nearly 20 per cent in value over the last couple of months, asked why the stock is so dependent on whether CEO Steve Jobs has recurrent cancer or not. It’s easy to see why he’d think this way . Since the launch of the iPhone 3G last month, Apple shares have not behaved the way they were supposed to, meaning they didn’t skyrocket. Bullish analysts have attributed this failure to launch to continued heavy media attention around Jobs’ gaunt appearance (Saturday’s New York Times said he doesn’t have cancer) and whether Apple’s board should be more forthright about the CEO’s health.

Interesting questions both. And I realize Jobs is an important guy and all. But couldn’t it be that shrewd investors are simply worried about the other jobs in the equation, or the lack thereof? Unemployment is on the rise in the U.S., while consumer confidence has reached lows not seen since this…

… was cutting edge Apple. As one Bloomberg commentator wrote last week, “Optimists Buy IPhones While Pessimists Hoard Gold.” Given the fact the company just lowered its guidance for the last quarter of the year by $500 million, you can’t blame investors for fretting about the jobs issue that really matters. And I’m not talking about the one in the black turtle neck.