Friday, May 4, 2012

Jobs Report: Economists React

From the WSJ's Real Time Economics:

‘Deja Vu All Over Again’ for Jobs?
Economists and others weigh in on the 115,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls in April and the drop in the unemployment rate to 8.1%.

It’s déjà vu all over again: just as the US economy experienced payroll softening in spring 2011, the same thing seems to be happening yet again in 2012. The only difference is we’ve benefited from a higher stronger point this time around. April nonfarm payrolls growth decelerated to a reading of +115,000, well-below expectations and down from March’s upwardly revised +154,000. Today’s less-than-favorable expansion helps confirm our belief that winter’s strong hiring pace was as much about unusually warm weather as it was about the underlying employment situation. –Guy LeBas, Janney Montgomery Scott

The relatively weak nonfarm payrolls in April seem to confirm the soft employment figures in March. The negatives clearly outweigh the positives in today’s report. –Jeffrey Greenberg, Nomura Economics Research

This report is unattractive at 115,000, printing below the 160,000 consensus of the market although those who’d changed over the last couple of days was nearer to 140,000. Hourly earnings were flat month-to-month and only rose 1.8% year-over-year against 2.0% expected, which is not good news for earned income overall, although hours worked remained at 34.5. The drop in the unemployment rate to 8.1% is deceptive to say the least as this was driven by a drop in the participation rate to 63.6% from 63.8% previously, this is down from 64.2% a year ago – this has been driven by a stunning 2,693,000 people leaving the labour force in 12 months. –David Semmens, Standard 
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