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.

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