The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Employment]

Interesting, really...

In the week ending April 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 300,000, a decrease of 32,000 from the previous week's revised level. The last time initial claims were this low was May 12, 2007 when they were 297,000. The previous week's level was revised up by 6,000 from 326,000 to 332,000. The 4-week moving average was 316,250, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,500 from 319,500 to 321,000.

Hmmmm....

Let's see... the trend since December has been down, and now it's accelerating down.  Now what changed at the end of the year?

Does anyone remember?

Oh yeah, funemployment was cut back -- the "extended" programs ended.

Isn't it interesting how when the options are (1) go find a job of some sort or (2) starve, a huge number of people somehow manage to find a job -- when they are allegedly "unobtanium"?

How many times have we seen this before?  Many. Does anyone remember the screaming from the left when welfare reform was passed -- specifically the repeated claim that children would be literally starving in the streets if we limited welfare payments and for those on it demanded that they demonstrate that they were actually attempting to learn a trade and get off their ass?  

What actually happened?

Nobody starved -- but lots of people in fact left welfare and went to work.

Leave aside the financial benefit to society -- the intangible benefit to children in those homes of seeing the adults around them go and earn the money they spend rather than having it handed to them just might spark a few entrepreneurs -- but even if it doesn't, it sure beats the example of simply sitting on the couch swilling cheap beer.

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 From the Bureau of Lies and Scams:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 192,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

That's solid.  In addition:

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.2 hour in March to 34.5 hours, offsetting a net decline over the prior 3 months. The manufacturing workweek rose by 0.3 hour in March to 41.1 hours, and factory overtime rose by 0.1 hour to 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.3 hour to 33.7 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In March, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 1 cent to $24.30, following a 9 cent increase in February. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 49 cents, or 2.1 percent. In March, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees edged down by 2 cents to $20.47. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The only negative is the hourly earnings number, but it's not large.  Much-more important is the workweek which has the same economic impact as more than a half-million new jobs in terms of total spending power.  That's good.

Heh look, the annualized rate of change is over the 2 million number.  That's good too.

And, as expected, the population-corrected rate of change has just turned positive.  Barely -- but it did.  That's positive too.

If there's a bummer in the data it's here.  The Population:Employment rate has not moved materially at all, and remains within the band where it has been since 2009.  That's just flat-out bad, and the drop in "not-in-labor-force", 428,000 people, means that if these individuals don't find jobs it is going to result in some pretty ugly revisions and reports downline in a couple of months.

That sort of change implies a confidence shift among the workforce.  We'll see if it's justified as we come into what are typically seasonally-strong months in the late spring and early summer.

For today, however, it is what it is: This is a good report.

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