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Weak Jobs Number Dissappoints

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On October 8, 2004 @ 10:39 am In Finance | Comments Disabled

A dissapointing number this morning: Only 96,000 new jobs were added to company payrolls in September — that’s far fewer than the 145,000 consensus economists forecast.

Some curious data under the headlines in this morning’s Employment Situation report. The Establishment survey gains of 96,000 were below consensus, and well below what the 150,000 per month needed just to keep pace with population growth. Also of note: of these 96,000 jobs, only 59,000 were private sector (37k were govt.) I need to drill further into the Birth/Death adjustment (business creation/destruction) but at first glance it appears that out of those 59,000 private sector positions, ~30,000 were due the birth/death adjustment.

The Household survey shows a drop of 201,000 jobs (Hey! Where are all the Household Survey cheerleaders this month?!?); Note also that 485,000 people left the labor force — a surprsingly high number. Lastly, the BLS made specific mention of an unusal phenomenon in their release — the increase in “multiple job holders.”

Here’s a quick excerpt [1]:

Many economists had expected the hurricanes that pummeled Florida and other areas of the Southeast to be a factor in the report, but Kathleen Utgoff, commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said the ability to gauge the hurricanes’ effect on the jobs numbers is limited. “Overall, we do not believe that the net result of these factors materially changes the national employment situation for September, but we cannot precisely quantify the weather effect,” she said.

Friday’s report also included revised data for the period from March 2003 through March 2004. Payroll employment for that time was raised by about 236,000 jobs, according to a preliminary estimate. That number was also weaker than many forecasters had expected. President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers had estimated that the payroll-employment figure for that period could be revised upward by 288,000 jobs, and conceivably by as much as 384,000.

Source:
BLS September Jobs Release (October 8, 2004)
Download PDF [2]

Last Pre-Election Jobs Report Shows Modest Payroll Growth [1]
Firms Added 96,000 Jobs in September;
Revision Finds Stronger Hiring in 2003
A WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE NEWS ROUNDUP
October 8, 2004 10:17 a.m.

http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB109723637861040346,00.html


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URLs in this post:

[1] excerpt: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB109723637861040346,00.html

[2] Download PDF: http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/files/bls_october_8.pdf

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