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Trend, Not a Single Data Point

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On August 7, 2009 @ 8:00 am In Employment | Comments Disabled

Non Farm Payrolls gets released this morning. Some outlets have pointed out an expected”beat” by BLS.

As we have long advocated, investors should be more concerned with the details than the headline, and watch for signs of a change in trend.A plus or minus 100k from the consensus is all but statistically irrelevant.

Be aware of the revisions, and Birth/death adjustment: Watch to see how much this impacts the overall number.

Look at these three leading indicators within the release:

1) Hours worked: Are employers still cutting back hours? That is a sign they lack confidence going forward.

2) Wages and income: Are salaries still falling? It reveals how much demand there is for labor.

3) Temp help:  Are employers starting to hire temporary workers?

These will provide some insight into the state of the Labor market.

~~~

I will be sitting in a canoe when these numbers come out. Use comments to update the release . . .


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