ADP’s Job Data Reliability? Not Great . . .


Yesterday’s selloff was triggered in part by a weak ADP report, and fears of a broader economic slowdown.

Lets see if we can navigate the crosscurrents here to discern what, if anything, is happening.

First off, the economy is slowing. At least, the 2nd derivative rate of growth is throttling back, from over 3% GDP in several 2010 Qs to under 2% now. That much we know, and it lends some credence to the belief that QE3 is inevitable. I am far more uncertain about QE3; it really depends how slow things get and how much the Fed panics. But we do know QE2.5 — the reinvestment of the rolling maturities of QE2 — is a done deal, and that is somewhat supportive of equity prices.

Second, we also know the ADP numbers are suspect at best (See this, this and this). They seem to do better at forecasting BLS numbers later in the economic cycle when job creation is dominant at established, larger firms — their client base — than in the early parts of the cycle when it is the new start-ups driving job creation.

ADP also does better following the revisions and benchmarking — suggesting that they may be more accurate than they appear when the payroll numbers are first released.  That is almost a non-issue, as the anticipation of BLS numbers, warts and all, is what drives trading.

Last, we have two cyclical factors fighting it out: The negative “Sell in May” theme is up against the positive “Presidential 3rd year” factor.

The bottom line remains this is a challenging set of conditions to navigate. Our 30% cash position reflects that . . .


ADP: Stick to Your Knitting (July 10th, 2006)

ADP Goes Back to the Drawing Board (January 7th, 2009)

ADP Report Is Worse At Predicting Payrolls Than A Consensus Estimate (February 4th, 2011)

Category: Cycles, Economy, Employment

The Fed put and its danger

Asian markets overnight took the economic slowdown, selloff cue from us and Europe continues its correction, further adjusting to the US selloff after markets there closed yesterday. Yesterday I mocked the discussion of QE3 as an unfortunate byproduct of the Fed put that has been so ingrained in market psychology over the past 15 year…Read More

Category: MacroNotes

Yastrow: “We Are on the Verge of a Great, Great Depression”

The news that frequent CNBC guest Peter Yastrow of Yastrow Origer (and formerly with DT Trading) told CNBC that “We’re on the verge of a great, great depression. The [Federal Reserve] knows it” is going viral today. But this is not news to anyone who has been paying attention. As I pointed out Tuesday, billion…Read More

Category: Think Tank

Most Photographed NYC Attraction? 5th Ave Apple Store

This is insane stuff: “Researcher Eric Fischer mapped and analyzed millions of photos on flicker that were taken throughout the city and looked at their geo-tagged information — such as time and date they were shot –to determine patterns of interest. Although the sleek glass exterior of the Fifth Avenue Apple store gets the most…Read More

Category: Analysts, Psychology, Travel, Web/Tech

The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media

Fast Co Design: A Graphic Novel Unlocks How The Media Manipulates Facts

Category: Financial Press, Video

Cockpit View: Twilight Landing At Los Angeles LAX

Cockpit view landing approach of a commercial airliner at Los Angeles airport (30 min. compressed into 3 min.) In the evening at dusk, with the last rays of light and the first lights of the city, as if you were sitting atop the cabin of the aircraft fly over the California cities of Thousand Oaks…Read More

Category: Weekend

I didn’t need a global economic collapse to know that the Chicago School of Economics was intellectually bankrupt — but the crisis sure has revealed that much to many many others: • Delong: The Intellectual Collapse of the Chicago School of Economics Continues • Gavyn Davies: The classical view of the global recession • Krugman: Whispers,…Read More

Category: Really, really bad calls

Afternoon Reading List

Here are today’s Instapaper reads: • Lehman Veteran Is Back in Game (WSJ) • Small Windows in an Unfavorable Long-Term Picture (Hussman Funds) • Buy Cheap Bonds with Safe Spread (Pimco) • Intolerable choices for the eurozone (FT) • How formulaic housing coverage fails to serve home buyers (Poynter) • India Is Growing, But Indians…Read More

Category: Financial Press

Cash Levels at 30%

“How much cash are you holding?“ > That seems to be the dominant question I am getting from readers.  Our long/short portfolio was as long as 86% not too long ago. We have been doing selective trimming over the past few weeks, but nothing too aggressive. As of this morning, we were about 70% long,…Read More

Category: Investing, Trading

The Fed’s “Fatal Flaw”: Morgenson & Rosner on Why Nothing’s Changed Since the Crisis


The Fed’s “Fatal Flaw”: Morgenson & Rosner on Why Nothing’s Changed Since the Crisis
Aaron Task
Daily Ticker – Tue, May 31, 2011

Category: Federal Reserve, Video