Sunday, May 8, 2011

Oddities in Last Week's Unemployment Numbers: Not as Bad as it Looked

There goes my whole "Where are we going and why are we in this handbasket/" investment thesis.
From Real Time Economics:
A big part of the increase in the unemployment rate in April, notes UBS securities economist Drew Matus, was the shedding of 164,000 agricultural workers. (As noted in this earlier post, these workers don’t show up in the establishment figures.) One reason why that might be: Farmers have been slower than usual to plant crops like corn this year.

As a result, Mr. Matus says he expects the drop in the unemployment rate “will be a temporary one as the volatility in agricultural workers could easily reverse next month.”
On the other hand we may have a tell for the next USDA report.