201801.05
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The Reluctant Labor Force Is Reluctant For A Reason (and it’s not booming growth)

In 2017, the BLS estimates that just 861k Americans were added to the official labor force, the denominator, of course, for the unemployment rate. That’s out of an increase of 1.4 million in the Civilian Non-Institutional Population, the overall prospective pool of workers. Both of those rises were about half the rate experienced in 2016….

201801.05
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4

Payrolls Hit The Trifecta of Awful

Last year was an objectively bad year for American workers. The latest payroll figures from the BLS for December 2017 fill out what was an awful picture. According to its Establishment Survey, the data that’s taken as the definitive source on the US labor market, total payrolls expanded by 2.055 million in 2017. That annual…

201801.03
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The Anti-Reflation Story Is The One That Mattered, And The Treasury Market Isn’t The Only One Telling It

The Treasury market isn’t the only place where the idea of “globally synchronized growth” is proving a tough sell. The collapse of the yield curve suggests, in fact, it isn’t being bought one bit. Apart from bonds, US companies aren’t warming to the economic warming, either. The labor market apart from the unemployment rate remains…

201712.08 2

Defining The Economy Through Payrolls

The year 2000 was a transition year in a lot of ways. Though Y2K amounted to mild mass hysteria, people did have to get used to writing the date with 20 in front of the year rather than 19. It was a new millennium (depending on your view of Year 0) that seemed to have…

201711.03
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Four Point One

The payroll report for October 2017 was still affected by the summer storms in Texas and Florida. That was expected. The Establishment Survey estimates for August and September were revised higher, the latter from a -33k to +18k. Most economists were expecting a huge gain in October to snapback from that hurricane number, but the…

201710.30
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The (Economic) Difference Between Stocks and Bonds

Real Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) rose 0.6% in September 2017 above August. That was the largest monthly increase (SAAR) in almost three years. Given that Real PCE declined month-over-month in August, it is reasonable to assume hurricane effects for both. Across the two months, Real PCE rose by a far more modest 0.5% total, or…

201710.06
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The Payroll Report To Focus On Is August’s, Not September’s

The hurricanes didn’t disappoint, causing major damage at least to the BLS. Precisely how much the statistics were affected by the disruptions in Texas and Florida really can’t be calculated, not that everyone won’t try. It makes this month’s payroll report a Rorschach test of sorts. You can pretty much make it out to be…

201709.01
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2

2017 Is Two-Thirds Done And Still No Payroll Pickup

The payroll report for August 2017 thoroughly disappointed. The monthly change for the headline Establishment Survey was just +156k. The BLS also revised lower the headline estimate in each of the previous two months, estimating for July a gain of only +189k. The 6-month average, which matters more given the noisiness of the statistic, is…

201708.04
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Payrolls And The 2014 Problem

If the economy this year is like it was in 2014, the latest payroll report is moving in that direction. As has been the case since that time, the Establishment Survey will typically estimate two good months in a row. For this year that means those above 200k, as the 209k in July 2017 follows…

201707.07
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Payroll Report; The State of Slowing Or Not Slowing

The payroll report for June 2017 was the first “good” one in some time. There are now a few indications that the “reflation” in the economy may be finally having positive effects on the labor market. The headline Establishment Survey gain was relatively solid at 222k, though it was above 200k for just the fourth…