201801.05
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3

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
1
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…

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…

201710.06
3
3

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…

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…

201706.02
4
2

The Anti-Perfect Jobs Condition

The irony of the unemployment rate for the Federal Reserve is that the lower it gets now the bigger the problem it is for officials. It has been up to this year their sole source of economic comfort. Throughout 2015, the Establishment Survey improperly contributed much the same sympathy, but even it no longer resides…

201705.05
3
2

Itching To, But Not In A Rush

Back in March 2015, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the policymaking body of the Federal Reserve, had a problem. In reality at that particular time they had a whole range of problems, but one in particular would set them on their current course. Their overarching task as they define it is to create or…

201704.07
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It Was And Still Is The Wrong Horse To Bet

The payroll report disappointed again, though it was deficient in ways other than are commonly described. The monthly change is never a solid indication, good or bad, as the BLS’ statistical processes can only get it down to a 90% confidence interval, and a wide one at that. It means that any particular month by…