Friday, December 4, 2015

November 2015 Employment Change

The Bureau of Labor Statistics report on the Employment Situation (link) showed a gain of 211,000 jobs over October 2015. Herewith the standard chart:

The number is in the respectable range. But I got to wondering: How does it compare to other transitions from October to November—considering that November is the first month of the biggest retail months of the year? Herewith another graphic:

This one goes back to 2005 and shows changes, October to November, in the 2005-2015 period. Notice how the October-November change signals the coming of the Great Recession—and thereafter the annual increase October to November of the same number—until 2015. Last month the number, while respectable, indicates a divergence from trend. Last year we added 423,000 jobs; this year less than half as much. Does that signal that Christmas sales are moving to December—or is it a sign of continued uncertainty and lack of confidence? We shall see how December behaves.

The next chart, showing projections for 2015 based on 11 months of data, show that 2015 may also break the total annual job-growth trend since the Great Recession by under-performing 2014: