The Glass Half Empty/Full? Employment Report

So, another monthly employment report and, depending mostly upon your political persuasion, either just a blip in an otherwise upward trend or further evidence of a stagnant, deteriorating economy. Personally, I tend to look on it as just a data point in an economic statistic which requires lots of data points to establish some version of reality. Here’s the BEA headline for anyone who didn’t crawl out from under a rock many hours ago:

“Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 142,000 in August, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised from +298,000 to +267,000, and the change for July was revised from +209,000 to +212,000. With these revisions, employment gains in June and July combined were 28,000 less than previously reported.”

Basically the number came in well below the consensus estimate of 225,000 new jobs, but the trend is still up. The WSJ survey of economists’ reactions to the news is generally along the lines of “move along, nothing to see here.” A sample:

  • Looking at the year as whole after a long string of strong monthly payroll gains, a downside blip in the report can be excused as one of those things. We know too that zero new jobs in manufacturing, containing a 4,600 job decline in motor vehicles, is payback for the seasonally adjusted creation of such jobs in July because the factories never closed. We can also look to the flat change in hours worked, including overtime, and the steady 2.1% year-over-year increase in average hourly wages as indications the drop in payroll expansion is not about slowing growth. We could, but we also the think the main point of today’s report in the context of the year as a whole is it underscores our long-held view of growth without acceleration. –Steve Blitz, ITG Investment Research

Hmm, “growth without acceleration” isn’t exactly a scintillating concept, but I suppose it’s better than the alternative.

1 2
View single page >> |
How did you like this article? Let us know so we can better customize your reading experience.

Comments

Leave a comment to automatically be entered into our contest to win a free Echo Show.