Saturday, January 7, 2017

December jobs increase means overall US economy doing OK

The report of the Obama Administration was released on Friday, and it shows that Donald Trump is going inherit a stable economy that's still adding jobs when he takes over in (ugh) 13 days.
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 156,000 in December, with an increase in health care and social assistance. Job growth totaled 2.2 million in 2016, less than the increase of 2.7 million in 2015. (See table B-1.)

Employment in health care rose by 43,000 in December, with most of the increase occurring in ambulatory health care services (+30,000) and hospitals (+11,000). Health care added an average of 35,000 jobs per month in 2016, roughly in line with the average monthly gain of 39,000 in 2015.
While the total jobs added dropped a bit from October and November, a lot of that decrease seems to be related to a lack of seasonal hiring in a handful of industries.

Seasonally vs Non-seasonally-adjusted figures, Dec 2016
General Merchandise stores
-23,900 seasonally-adjusted, +12,300 non-seasonal

Accounting and Bookkeeping Services
-13,200 seasonally-adjusted, +22,400 non-seasonal

Temporary help services
-15,500 seasonally-adjusted, -7,600 non-seasonal

On the flip side, manufacturing had a nice increase of 17,000 for December, reversing a downward trend that had been a problem for most of 2016. And health care had a strong increase of 43,200, finishing 2016 with an increase of nearly 422,000 jobs, which seems to be an important stat to keep in mind as Trump and the rest of the Republicans try to dismantle Obamacare.

The unemployment rate bumped back up to 4.7% after dropping from 4.9% to 4.6% over the previous two months- not a huge deal, and the labor force expanded by 184,000 in this survey. And both the wage and revision figures featured good news, as both headed up.
In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 10 cents to $26.00, after edging down by 2 cents in November. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.9 percent. In December, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $21.80....

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised down from +142,000 to +135,000, and the change for November was revised up from +178,000 to +204,000. With these revisions, employment gains in October and November were 19,000 higher than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 165,000 per month.
The wage increases are especially heartening to see, as that's the largest in 7 1/2 years, and given that oil prices and other costs have been back on the rise, real wage growth had been declining. Now combine that 10 cent wage bump with 19 states increasing their minimum wages on January 1, and it seems likely that hourly/weekly wage number will look good again next month.

So we were in decent shape overall as the year ended, although apparently that wasn't enough for a lot of people, which explains why they thought Donald freaking Trump would "make America great again". Let's check back at the end of 2017 and compare those figures to the 2.2 million job growth and 2.9% wage growth we saw in 2016. I'd bet the under today.

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