Friday, April 2, 2010

Early Reactions to the Jobs Report

We'll have a couple posts on today's employment numbers.
First up, Carpe Diem:

Early Indicators: Record 5-Month Increase in Temp Workers; 19-Month High for Mfg. Overtime Hours

...Bottom Line: Both the surge in temporary workers and the increase in overtime hours are early indicators of a broader recovery in the labor market, and signal future increases in job creation. In the early stages of economic recovery, it makes sense for cautious employers to both increase temporary hiring and increase overtime hours of existing hours. As the economy stabilizes and expands and employers become more confident there will broader hiring for permanent workers.
From EconoSpeak:

Another Incremental Improvement of a Bad Labor Market
...Our graph shows that we have had very modest improvements in the employment-population ratio for the last 3 months – from 58.2% to 58.6% - as we have also seen the labor force participation rate rise – from 64.6% to 64.9%. Note also the tremendous decline in the employment-population ratio from December 2006 to December 2009. The rise in the unemployment during this period understated the decline in the employment-population ratio as labor force participation also declined. While we are making small progress, we are very far away from a healthy labor market.
The Asia Times' Inner Workings blog:

A Weak Employment Report

Health care and temporary service employment accounted for the bulk of the weaker-than-expected payroll report, and the so-called underemployment rate actually rose....

...Throw in 15,000 factory jobs, and that’s it. The ADP report showed a decline in manufacturing employment, so that’s within the range of statistical error. It’s remarkable how little manufacturing employment has grown given the improvements in Asia, suggesting that the tidal effect of Asian growth on the US is limited.

A major factor in the improvement is the fact that construction employment has stabilized at extremely low levels. It really is so bad that it can’t get much worse. During the past two months, construction deducted about 60,000 from the totals. At this to the 48,000 pop in census-driven government employment, and the number looks very weak indeed.

Finally the WSJ's Real Time Economics blog:

Broader U-6 Unemployment Rate Increases to 16.9% in March

The U.S. jobless rate was unchanged at 9.7% in March, flat from the previous month, but the government’s broader measure of unemployment ticked up for the second month in a row, rising 0.1 percentage point to 16.9%.

The comprehensive gauge of labor underutilization, known as the “U-6″ for its data classification by the Labor Department, accounts for people who have stopped looking for work or who can’t find full-time jobs. Though the rate is still 0.5 percentage point below its high of 17.4% in October, its continuing divergence from the official number (the “U-3″ unemployment measure) indicates the job market has a long way to go before growth in the economy translates into relief for workers....MORE