Saturday, April 8, 2017

March 2017 Employment Change

The March report, by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, known as the Employment Situation (link), produced something of a shock. February’s gains were 235,000. First of all those results were revised downward by 16,000 (to 219,000); January’s results of a 238,000 jobs gain were revised downward as well by 22,000 (to 216,000). And this month’s results, for March 2017, came in at 98,000—thus roughly half of what most people expected. NOT GOOD, as DT might tweet. Herewith the graphic I show for the total period from December 2007 to the current month:



The big drop in employment gain had much to do with chaotic weather all through March—much colder and liberally plagued by floods, storms, and tornadoes. Job gains in Construction, for instance, which had produced a gain of 59,000 jobs in February, came in with a gain of only 6,000 in March. The Retail Sector, which had shown growth of 35,300 jobs in January, showed losses in total employment of 30,900 in February and 29,700 in March. Turbulence and cold weather put a crimp in shopping too. Leisure and Hospitality, as one might expect, went from a job gain of 27,000 in February to a gain of only 9,000 in March.

Let’s next look at the annual projection produced by three months of gains in 2017. The graphic that follows shows it (last bar).



The projection is worse than it was for the 2012-2016 years—thus just a shade better than 2011. But, of course, it’s still early in the year. Having exploded $60 million worth of Tomahawk missiles recently—59 that landed and one that fell into the ocean—we’ve created a new demand for replacing them in the year that is still left. That might make up for some of the jobs taken away by misbehaving weather (or “fringe attacks” by Global Warming).

Hope’s just around the corner.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

February 2017 Employment Updates

It’s been a while since I’ve posted these data—the last time for November 2015. Herewith an update. It covers all of 2016 as well as the first two months of 2017. I do this because of all the hoopla from the Trump administration—which tends to label good news as due to Trump, bad news as numbers-games put out by his the opposition. The data shown are from the most recent issuance by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the Employment Situation (link).


February results show that the economy added 235,000 jobs in February: February thus produced a good number, to be sure. But that number is shy of the January 2017 result by 3,000 jobs. That sort of change, again, is normal; but no big fuss had been made over the January result. And, looking back, 2016 produced, four months in which job growth exceeded the 235,000 jobs-gain number. So we’re in effect just soldiering on. Note, however, that February 2016 produced 237,000 jobs, beating this year’s result under an Obama Administration. That surely can't be true, can it?

Alas. When looking at a long history of employment growth (or decline), as we do when looking at the information in the graphic above, the year so far shows no obvious sign of a coming “revolution” in job gains. To be sure, the next graphic, which projects full-year 2017 results from two months’ data, suggests that 2017 is on track to be second best to 2014  since the Great Recession: