Another Wild Jobs Report: Payroll Employment Rose A Disappointing 20,000

The BLS gave us another wild jobs report. Unemployment fell to a new low for the cycle but the jobs gain was only 20K.

Initial Reaction

Following last month's screwy jobs report in which the population supposedly shrunk by 649,000 comes an unexpectedly weak report in which jobs only rose by 20,000. The unemployment rate, however, fell 0.2 percentage points to 3.8% as employment rose by 255,000. Once again the household survey and the establishment survey were miles apart.

Last month employment was -251,000. This month employment rose by 255,000. In December, the BLS reported +142,000. The three-month running total for employment is +146,000 an average of +47,000 per month.

Last month U6 unemployment rose 0.5 percentage point to 8.1%. This month it fell 0.8 percentage points to 7.3%.

Yes, this was another wild report.

Let’s dive into the details in the BLS Employment Situation Summary, unofficially called the Jobs Report.

Job Revisions

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised up from +222,000 to +227,000, and the change for January was revised up from +304,000 to +311,000. With these revisions, employment gains in December and January combined were 12,000 more than previously reported.

After revisions, job gains have averaged 186,000 per month over the last 3 months.

BLS Jobs Statistics at a Glance

  • Nonfarm Payroll: +20,000 – Establishment Survey
  • Employment: +255,000 – Household Survey
  • Unemployment: +241,000 – Household Survey
  • Involuntary Part-Time Work: -837,000 – Household Survey
  • Voluntary Part-Time Work: +204,000 – Household Survey
  • Baseline Unemployment Rate: +0.1 to 4.0% – Household Survey
  • U-6 unemployment: -0.8 PP to 7.3% – Household Survey
  • Civilian Non-institutional Population: +153,000
  • Civilian Labor Force: -45,000 – Household Survey
  • Not in Labor Force: +198,000 – Household Survey
  • Participation Rate: +0.0 to 63.2– Household Survey
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