Friday, March 5, 2010

Employment: Noise or Stabilization

Barry of (The Big Picture fame) reminds us that we should ignore the noise of any single payrolls report (especially given the snowstorms that will add extra noise):

Given the potential impact of the snowstorms across the United States during the BLS survey week, the potential range of NFP for this month is half a million people wide. Any jobs report between +100k and -400k would not surprise us.

That said, the actual number was better than forecast (per Bloomberg).

The jobless rate in the U.S. held at 9.7 percent in February and employment declined less than forecast even as severe winter weather may have forced some employers to temporarily close.

Payrolls dropped 36,000 last month after a 26,000 decrease in January, figures from the Labor Department in Washington showed today. Employment fell in construction and increased at temporary-help services. While more people entered the workforce, the unemployment rate was unexpectedly unchanged.

Non-farm figures show people re-entering the workforce and a HUGE jump from teens.



And the longer trend to the unemployment rate (unemployment was flat at 9.7%, while the alternative broader measure was up slightly to 16.8% from 16.5%....



Source: BLS