Friday, May 8, 2015

Job Numbers Better, But Mind What's Going on Backstage

Behind the Numbers Unveiled Today.
Ta-da. The curtain rose this morning on job numbers, +233,000 in April on U.S. nonfarm payrolls from March, seasonally adjusted.


But watch out for the backstage revisions. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February could be described as "essentially unchanged", shading up slightly to +266,000 from +264,000.

However, the change for March was lowered by nearly one-third, to +85,000 jobs from +126,000 jobs.

Without the March downward revision, the +233,000 jobs in April would have shed +41,000 of its growth and would be only +192,000.

This is well below last year's average of +260,000 per month.

The details of the payroll-job numbers repay study for industry trends. The construction industry, even seasonally adjusted, showed strength in April at a healthy pace, growing by 45,000 jobs. But the growth is primarily in specialty contract jobs. Another barrier for workers without the specialty skills.

Mining support firms, oil and gas drillers, showed declines for the fourth month, suggesting a cooling of the fracking frenzy. The mining industry has lost 49,000 jobs since the beginning of the year, mostly in support functions.

Professional and business services employment rose 62,000 in April. The tech sector continues to show strength, the fifth Kondratiev wave that is showing more capacity to grow than 20th century forecasters predicted. In April, employment continued to trend up in computer systems design and related services (+9,000), in business support services (+7,000), and in management and technical consulting services (+6,000).

The BLS describes the decline in the unemployment rate "essentially unchanged", but it's on the good side of that, falling to 5.4 percent from 5.5 percent in March, which is the lowest it's been since May 2008, before the Lehman meltdown in September of that year.

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