Friday, March 9, 2018

Jobs report seems too good to be true

Big-time, unexpected numbers from February's US jobs report. Herware the toplines.

Jobs for Feb +313K, +287K private
Jobs revised for Dec, Jan +54,000

Unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1%
Labor Force +806,000
"Employed" +785,000

Those are huge numbers, and they don't add up to me. Maybe I feel that way because Wisconsin was cold and dreary in February and because we lag so badly under Walker, but it made me do a "Huh???"

One of the biggest reasons was this part.
Retail trade employment increased by 50,000 over the month. Within the industry, employment rose in general merchandise stores (+18,000) and in clothing and clothing accessories stores (+15,000).
Really? When we are reading about store chains closing right and left every week?

Seems like these "gains" are really reflections of lower-than-usual seasonal layoffs. Retail is one of these areas, but not the only one with this disparity.

Seasonal vs non-seasonal change, Dec-Feb
Seasonally-adjusted +65,100
Not-season adjusted -711,900

Seasonally-adjusted +56,000
Not-season-adjusted -23,000

Specialty trade contractors
Seasonally-adjusted +66,600
Not-season-adjusted -104,500

So let's see if this adjusts back when "hiring season" occurs in 2-3 months, and results in "losses" from,lower-than-typical seasonal jobs.

But for now, it looks like we've seen a nice little bump up in hiring for early 2018, even if spending and income data don't match up with the strong jobs market.

That, combined with yesterday's "gold standard" revelation of lower-than-previously-reported job growth for Wisconsin in 2017, likely means the Walker jobs gap will jump well past the 115,000 that it stands at today.

1 comment:

  1. Been such a pleasure to watch this country's confidence and pride rebound after all those seemingly-endless Obama Malaise years. Jake, the job market is getting so hot, even YOU, a worthless public-sector lazy leech, might be able to find a job in the private sector!! BWAHAHAHAAAAHA!! Oh, God, even I can't say or type that with a straight face. Nevermind, most of us check the Walker recall list first thing before we hire, anyway.