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Notes to myself, possibly of interest to others.
-- Bill Northlich

Friday, March 4, 2011

Today's Job Numbers

Peter Boockvar:
  • February Payrolls rose by 192k, 4k less than expected but private sector job gains totaled 222k, 22k above forecasts
  • Payrolls averaged 128k over the two months and 145k in the private sector. It’s certainly an improvement but still lackluster at this stage of an economic rebound
  • The unemployment rate ticked down by .1% to 8.9% encouragingly led by a 250k increase in the household survey
  • The labor force rose by 60k after the sharp decline over the past 2 months
  • The all-in U6 rate fell .2% to 15.9%. 
  • Average hourly earnings was flat vs an expected .2% gain and is up just 1.7% y/o/y
  • Manufacturing added jobs for a 4th month. 
Bottom line, job growth continues but the pace needs to pick up at a faster rate and remains below where it should considering the sharp declines seen in ’08-’09

Barry Ritholtz:
  • Private job growth accelerated and the unemployment rate fell for the third straight month; Since the February 2010 low, total payroll employment has grown by 1.3 million.
  • Average hourly earnings of all employees increased by one cent to $22.87, up 1.7% year over year.
  • The average work week for all workers was flat at 34.2 hours.
  • Among all industries, 68.2% were hiring, up from 60.1% in January. This is the broadest range of hiring since May 1988.
  • Revisions were all positive: Payroll rose in December and January by a cumulative 58,000. A revised 152,000 in December and by 63,000 in January.
  • Unemployment dropped by 190,000 to 13.7 million; Employment gained 250,000 to 139.6 million.
  • The Labor participation rate was unchanged at 64.2%; the employment-population ratio at 58.4% was also unchanged in February
  • Sectors that added jobs include Manufacturing (+33,000), Construction (+33,000), Professional and business services (+47,000), Health care (+34,000), Transportation and warehousing (+22,000),
  • Sectors losing jobs were State and Local government
This was a solid jobs report, not as measured by the typical recovery, but one of the better reports we have seen for years. Moreover, 30,000 government jobs bit the dust. The higher that number, the better off we will all be. +212,000 private jobs is a good number. However, I suspect this may be as good as it gets for a while.

At the current pace, the unemployment number would ordinarily drop, but not fast. However, many of those millions who dropped out of the workforce could start looking if they think jobs may be out there. Should that happen, the unemployment rate could rise, even if the economy adds jobs at this pace...

In the last year, the civilian population rose by 1,853,000. Yet the labor force dropped by 312,000. Those not in the labor force rose by 2,165,000.

In January alone, a whopping 319,000 people dropped out of the workforce. In February (this months' report) another 87,000 people dropped out of the labor force.

Were it not for people dropping out of the labor force, the unemployment rate would be over 11%...

Looking ahead I strongly doubt the reports will be this good over the course of a year.

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