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

Oh this is amusing, after the ADP screamfest yesterday...

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 148,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains occurred in health care, construction, and manufacturing.

The spin has already begun, of course.... so let's look inside.

So the household report (unadjusted, as always on my work) says -578,000.  That's roughly the same as last year, but it destroys the argument that people have made that Trump is somehow "great" for the job market; he clearly has not been, as the firing cycle which usually takes place in December and January appears to be fully intact.

Second, the usual source of this flows directly out of "Not In Labor Force", in other words people who have either given up or gone on the dole, and guess what -- that's +747,000 which is actually a bit higher than last year's +685,000!

The net 12 month gain in employment including population change is +437,000.  That's not a bad number, but it's also not a barn-burner.  So if you want to give Trump credit for something you can look there, because that's real and it's a 12-month number, not a month-by-month noise factory.

The internals are rather interesting; men had no change in participation rate net-net (across all ages 20+) while women lost three ticks.  Teens also lost three ticks.  The latter is expected since that's seasonal firing and usual; the latter is a (small and partial) reversal of previously-seen gains.  There was also a very large drop in the unemployment rate among blacks to 6.3% (from 7.1%) but contrary to the screamers on CNBC the participation rate went down a lot from 62.4 -> 61.8%.  How is that possible?  The civilian labor force among blacks dropped by 168,000 people while employed increased by 12,000.  In other words the entire gain was a statistical screwing rather than fact -- or a bunch of black people, a wildly outlying number that would have made news due to a black-specific plague or similar -- died last month.  Insert your favorite conspiracy theory here....

In short don't bother letting facts get in the way of a good social-justice fairy tale but do keep in mind that an old half-joke that I used to run pretty-regularly was that wars are good for the unemployment rate because they not only generate jobs to make all of the stuff that gets blown up they also kill the competitors for said jobs.  Since I don't recall there being any active wars going on right that account for the 168,000 black people that magically disappeared from the civilian labor force this is obviously some sort of data discontinuity -- which the Bureau of Lies and Scams didn't bother to footnote anywhere I can quickly find it.  Oh, and no, this is not the annual edition of updated control groups either; that's next month.

PS: A few hispanic people allegedly disappeared too but since their unemployed figure went up it didn't help their unemployment rate.  Asians, on the other hand, appear to have screwed like rabbits some 16ish years ago.  Yeah.  In addition a bunch of people with a disability appear to have been abducted by Martians during this last month as well.  Finally, on a "non-adjusted" basis there was no drop in retail trade either as claimed on ScreamTV; across all sub-groups it was up by 59,000 last month.

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