What is Temp Work Saying About GDP and NFP?

With November’s Non Farm Payroll coming out Friday, we thought a few previews this week might be instructive. 

One of the leading indicators of job creation are the hirings at various temp services. Companies unsure of future expansion use temp workers, and then shift to full time permanent employees as things firm up. As the 10 year monthly chart nearby shows, Temp Hiring is quite cyclical.

Temp jobs have been declining throughout the year, except for October, when they rose by 20,000, or +0.79%, to 2.58 million. Whether this is the start of a major turn in employment, or merely a statistical blip is unknown now. Note that on a year-over-year basis, October 2007 data represented a decrease of -1.59%.

Let’s see what the leadership of one of the big temp firms has to say about this, via WSJ’s Real Time Economics:

"Carl Camden, president and CEO of temp giant Kelly Services Inc., calls the job market “perplexing.” The economy growing at 3.8% in the second quarter and 4.9% in the third quarter generally should be associated with monthly gains of 150,000 to 250,000 jobs, Mr. Camden said in an interview with the Journal. Instead, GDP and temporary employment growth — once strongly correlated — seem to have decoupled." (emphasis added)

Unless you can show me another ~5% GDP quarter where S&P 500 profits
were down 8.5%, I think the answer to this conundrum is obvious: There has been no "decoupling." What I strongly suspect occurred is that the 4.9% GDP is a fantasy, a statistical
sleight of hand that is half inventory build, and half wildly
understated inflation.

Of course, I could be wildly wrong, inflation may be tame, GDP robust, and the employment picture just fine (your mileage may vary). But I have a sneaking suspicion that is not the case.

Here’s another chart, Employment Trends & Temporary Help Data Report, via Bruce Steinberg:

Courtesy of Bruce Steinberg


Kelly Services Chief: Jobs Picture Perplexing
Sudeep Reddy
December 4, 2007, 3:59 pm

Employment Trends & Temporary Help Data Report
Bruce Steinberg
November 2007

Temporary help services Employment
Seasonally Adjusted – CES6056132001
BLS chart

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Employment

Here Comes Another Bubble

Hysterical . . .

via GMSV

Category: Valuation, Video, Web/Tech

JJ Grey & Mofro

I was starting to put together this year’s Different Kind of Top 10 Music List (prior versions here: 2006, 2005  and 2004), when I realized I hadn’t written up one of my favorite discs this year: Country Ghetto by JJ Grey & Mofro.

I was driving home one night.,. when I hear this sound come oozing out of my car speakers: A funky, steamy, swamp rock blues number, with a long intro that finally came to a great groove: (slide over here and click Turpentine)

On the strength of that song, I ordered the disc, and I was not disappointed. The music is a great cross-breeding experiment across genres: Start with swamp rock, add some smoldering blues, slip in  vintage soul, and finally, some gospel-fried funk.

Songwriting influences are apparent: Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker,
Jerry Reed, Bill Withers, Otis Redding, Dr. John, Sly
& The Family Stone, Van Morrison, Howlin’ Wolf, George Jones, and James Brown.


"a down-and-dirty delight, and a fine addition to the swamp rock canon"   -allmusic.com

"intriguing and fortuitous… Grey’s a songwriter with a sharp wit and a knack for skewering the hypocrites, jive politicians and carpetbaggers who litter the landscape. The MOFRO vibe travels freely among swamp funk, blues, rock and soul, and does so with a certain down-and-dirty swagger that’s as real as it is appealing."    -Billboard

"A Southern-fried Sly and the Family Stone."    -Don McLees

Other links: 

Home page
My Space (5 streaming songs)


Videos after the jump.

(Um, might someone from Madison House Management consider releasing some higher quality videos to YouTube?   Most of these are pretty medicore sound quality . . . )


Read More

Category: Digital Media, Music


Category: Psychology, Technology, Web/Tech

Wall Street Reporter Interview

Category: Digital Media, Financial Press

Gather Those Rosebuds . . .

Category: Financial Press

Retail Fading

Forget forecasting: You can’t even begin to think about the Future if you don’t understand the Present.

Case in point: Holiday Retail sales.

You may have overlooked the Black Friday weekend numbers, as the headline emphasis was on well, how strong they were relative to expectations. On that Friday, we saw an 8.5% gain thanks to huge discounting and door-buster giveaways.

The thinking seemed to be "Sure, we lose money on each sale, but we make it up in volume!"

Amazingly, the cheerleading in the space seems to be abating, as the MSM is now clued into the problem — and reporting it freely. The remarkably sanguinity we have seen over the years is no more.


courtesy of NYT

Consider the following articles, after the jump, on Consumer spending, sentiment, and retail sales :

Read More

Category: Consumer Spending, Economy, Psychology, Retail

You ARE Your FICO Score

Category: Credit, Data Analysis, Real Estate

Media Appearance: Fast Money (12/03/07)



Tonite is my debut on Fast Money — a fast "Chartology" segment, from 5:30pm to 5:40pm or so, on CNBC. The show is on at 5pm and again at 8 pm.

We will be discussing the SPX, State Street bank (STT) and Stanley (SXE)

See discussion after the jump . .  .

Should be fun!


UPDATE: December 4, 2007 7:36am

The Chartology segment is posted at CNBC


Not how much macro/fundie info I slipped in.

Read More

Category: Media

New Real Money Column: Five Stocks for Playing a Recession Safely

Category: Economy, Investing, Trading