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A Closer Look at NFP (Fool’s edition)

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On April 1, 2011 @ 10:07 am In Data Analysis,Employment | Comments Disabled

Today’s Nonfarm payroll employment report [1] showed an increase by an above consensus 216,000 in March.

This was a decent number, a step showing marginal improvement. But as per our earlier discussion [2], the change in March’s net employment was about 0.1%; the upside surprise was about 10% higher than consensus. In other words, the entire employment difference between forecast estimates and actual release was 0.01% of total employment.

Put that way, its hard to get terribly excited one way or another.

Let’s take a closer look at the April Fools release:

• Unemployed persons total 13.5 million; Since November 2010, the jobless rate has declined from 9.8% to 8.8% — a full percentage point.
• Unemployed is now at the lowest level since March 2009
• Gains were in professional and business services, health care, leisure and hospitality, and mining. Employment in manufacturing continued to trend up.
• Construction and Government employment continues to be weak
• Average hourly earnings were flat ($22.87). Year-over-year, earnings were up 1.7%, still lagging the 2.2% CPI year-over-year increase
• Temporary-help services rose by 29,000.
• Average workweek for all employees was unchanged at 34.3 hours
• Long-term unemployed (27+ weeks) was 6.1 million, an increase in their percentage of unemployed from 43.9 to 45.5%
• Labor force participation rate (64.2%) and employment-population ratio (58.5%) were flat.
• Revisions were modest, but positive


Article printed from The Big Picture: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog

URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/04/a-closer-look-at-nfp-fools-edition/

URLs in this post:

[1] Nonfarm payroll employment report: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

[2] earlier discussion: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/04/contextualizing-the-nfp-data/

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