This morning, the single most asked question I hear is “So what’s Your NFP Number?”

That’s one of the more interesting side issues about this Maine event/fishing trip/conference. Its overrun with economists and Fed folk, who are the fairly focused on short term data.

Regular readers number I have little interest in making bad predictions about monthly data points that are not all that important. You would think that anyone who tracks the NFP data (such as economists or Fed members) would understand how meaningless any single data point. But its part of their history and monthly routine, and therefor remains disproportionately significant to them. Hence, the silly monthly question.

Phillipa Dunne, the well regarded longtime Employment researcher of the Liscio Report wants to shift the data analysis in a different direction. She believes we should be spending less time thinking about the headline number, and more time time doing a deep dive into the specific details beneath — the Big Data approach. In addition to taking apart the inputs, Dunne wants to break the numbers down by region. She thinks that lots of non-BLS data inputs — Fuel usage, Tax receipts, historical data bases, FOMC data, etc. — are equally important to the analytical process if one wants a 30,000 foot view of the employment sector. The lagged Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) data from actual unemployment insurance records — this is the basis of the benchmarked data that goes into the final numbers on a multi-quarter lag — is similarly important and overlooked.

For those of us who find the monthly obsession with the initial NFP data to be silly, this sort of analytical approach is refreshing. Let’s hope it catches on . . .



NFP Day: The Most Over-Analyzed, Over-Emphasized, Least-Understood Data Point (February 4th, 2011)

An Unusually Unusual NFP Payroll Day! (June 3rd, 2011)

THE MOST IMPORTANT EVER NFP blah blah blah (June 7th, 2013)

Category: Data Analysis, Employment, Philosophy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

6 Responses to ““What’s Your NFP Number?” [Don't have one]”

  1. WFTA says:

    Several thousand fewer than the concensus estimate; we need some excuse for a sell-off.

    Best Quote o’ the Day in a while.

    Have a swell weekend.

  2. zell says:

    Tolerating air travel to hang out in the Maine woods with a bunch of Fedophiles and liquidity lappers does not sound good. What is everybody fishing for? Phillippa Dunne has the right idea. Per R. Barthes- throw out the script and start reading the signs.

  3. Angryman1 says:

    Right, figuring out revisions is the key to figuring out pace. I don’t even bother with monthly survey’s anymore.

  4. [...] Over the past few weeks, I have been waxing eloquent on the subject of self-awareness, knowledge, and recognizing one’s own lackings thereto. Last week, we discussed the Value of Not Knowing; that followed the prior week’s discussion of why I don’t bother guessing a monthly NFP number. [...]

  5. [...] “What’s Your NFP Number?” [Don't have one]  (August 2nd, 2013) [...]

  6. [...] “What’s Your NFP Number?” [Don't have one]  (August 2nd, 2013) [...]