The Atlanta Fed's macroblog provides commentary and analysis on economic topics including monetary policy, macroeconomic developments, inflation, labor economics, and financial issues.
- BLS Handbook of Methods
- Bureau of Economic Analysis
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Congressional Budget Office
- Economic Data - FRED® II, St. Louis Fed
- Office of Management and Budget
- Statistics: Releases and Historical Data, Board of Governors
- U.S. Census Bureau Economic Programs
- White House Economic Statistics Briefing Room
October 06, 2006
What to make of the September employment report? On the one hand you have September employment growth checking in at a measly 51,000 jobs. On the other hand you have the news that
75,000 60,000 more jobs were created in August than previously thought. Let's see. Is the labor market glass half-empty or half-full? The headline writers, at least, seem to be in a half-full kind of mood. From Reuters:
U.S. jobs picture stronger with expected revisions
Details show September report not as weak as headline suggests
U.S. Economy: Jobless Rate Drops, Matching 5-Year Low
US labour market tighter than estimated
Meager job growth in September sends a clear signal of a slowing economy, right? It ain't necessarily so
In fact, the revisions in August do imply that, even with the weak-looking September performance, so far this year businesses are adding to payrolls at a pace of 137,000 new jobs per month:
It is true that the soft job performance in September was spread across the broad sectors of the economy. But then again, so were the upward revisions in August:
It in fact revisions in what we thought was history was the theme of the day. From the aforementioned Reuters post:
Conclusions? Let's turn back to MarketWatch...
John Silvia, chief economist with Wachovia, said the report raises more questions than it answers, which can pose problems for markets.
"Is September the aberration, or is September the month we fell off the cliff?" he asked. "I hate to say, but we really don't know until we see the next report."
Preliminary tabulations of employment from state unemployment insurance tax reports show the estimate for total nonfarm payroll employment in March 2006 will require an upward revision of approximately 810,000, or six-tenths of one percent, said Philip Rones, acting commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That means for the 12 months up to March 2006, there likely were more workers on the payrolls than first counted.
This will be the biggest benchmark revision since the department began making them in 1991, and officials at the BLS, the Labor Department's statistical arm, said they are still researching the discrepancy from earlier estimates.
Or maybe even beyond.
BLOGWORLD UPDATE: Claus Vistesen calls the employment gain "measly." The Capital Spectator prefers "meager." Daniel Gross suggests "lame". Nouriel Roubini claims he was overoptimistic! The Skepitcal Speculator leaves it at "awfully low."
Russell Roberts ponders the revisions in recent job growth estimates and wonders if those who have been stressing that the household survey might just be right. (For some time the household survey has been suggesting a lot more job growth than the payroll survey, which generates the statistics that most economists and press reports stress.) pgl, however, is skeptical (to say the least). And Tim Iacono likens the revisions to "kissing your sister." King at SCSU scholars is skepitcal too (hat tip, William Polley).
Dean Baker notes, along with Arnold Kling, that the upward revision in past employment growth means that estimated productivity growth is correspondingly lower than we thought. Felix Salmon reminds us that there are more revisions to come.
Michael Mandel again emphasizes job growth in health-care sector (and again makes what I think is a misleading comparison by lumping all non-health-care private jobs together.)
"A clean, clear 'signal' from this report is hard to discern," said Richard Iley, economist at BNP Paribas.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to blogs that reference Strange Days:
- Payroll Employment Growth: Strong Enough?
- Forecasting Loan Losses for Stress Tests
- Men at Work: Are We Seeing a Turnaround in Male Labor Force Participation?
- What’s Moving the Market’s Views on the Path of Short-Term Rates?
- Lockhart Casts a Line into the Murky Waters of Uncertainty
- How Will Employers Respond to New Overtime Regulations?
- How Good Is The Employment Trend? Decide for Yourself
- Is the Labor Market Tossing a Fair Coin?
- When It Rains, It Pours
- Pay As You Go: Yes or No?
- August 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- November 2015
- October 2015
- Business Cycles
- Business Inflation Expectations
- Capital and Investment
- Capital Markets
- Data Releases
- Economic conditions
- Economic Growth and Development
- Exchange Rates and the Dollar
- Fed Funds Futures
- Federal Debt and Deficits
- Federal Reserve and Monetary Policy
- Financial System
- Fiscal Policy
- Health Care
- Inflation Expectations
- Interest Rates
- Labor Markets
- Latin America/South America
- Monetary Policy
- Money Markets
- Real Estate
- Saving, Capital, and Investment
- Small Business
- Social Security
- This, That, and the Other
- Trade Deficit
- Wage Growth