Friday’s jobs reports will be out shortly. Here is how some see it, late Thursday evening.
Gallup analysis suggests the October unemployment rate that the government reports on Friday will be in the 9.7% to 9.9% range. This is despite the fact that unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, fell sharply to 9.4% at the end of October — down from 10.0% in mid-October and 10.1% at the end of September. Most of this drop took place after the official Labor Department measurement period, suggesting the government’s October report may not pick up this late-month decline.
Relationship to the Official U.S. Unemployment Rate
Gallup’s end-of-October data suggest that the unemployment rate plunged during the last half of the month. However, most of the improvement took place after the measurement period for the government’s jobs report, due out Friday. Over that period, Gallup’s unemployment measure, which is not seasonally adjusted, increased from 9.4% in mid-September to 10.1% at the end of September and 10.0% in mid-October. As a result, Gallup analysis suggests the government’s seasonally adjusted October unemployment rate is likely to increase into the 9.7% to 9.9% range when it is reported on Nov. 5.
Why the Decline in Unemployment?
In part, the sharp improvement in the unemployment rate and in underemployment during late October may be explained by the approaching holiday sales season. Halloween is becoming a bigger holiday and could be responsible for some added hiring. Further, some retailers are starting their Christmas sales early, anticipating a flat sales period, and could be adding jobs. Both of these possibilities are consistent with the ADP report that private-sector service jobs grew by 77,000 in October.
Another more speculative possibility involves Federal Reserve policy and the midterm elections. Many companies seem to have simply put a hold on new activities, including hiring, during late September and early October, as the economy seemed to be weakening more than expected and the business operating environment seemed more uncertain than normal.
Regardless of the reason — and although it was too late to help political incumbents on Tuesday — it appears that the jobs situation showed substantial improvement in late October. Now, it is up to the Fed and the new Congress to build on what appears to be some late October jobs momentum.
Gallup was wrong each of the last two months. Do they have it correct this month?
Private-sector employment increased by 43,000 from September to October on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report® released today. The estimated change of employment from August to September was revised up from the previously reported decline of 39,000 to a smaller decline of 2,000. Since employment began rising in February, the monthly gain has averaged 34,000 with a range of -2,000 to +65,000 during the period. October’s figure is within this recent range and is consistent with the deceleration of economic growth that occurred in the spring. Employment gains of this magnitude are not sufficient to lower the unemployment rate. Given modest GDP growth in the second and thirds quarters, and the usual lag of employment behind GDP, it would not be surprising to see several more months of lethargic employment gains, even if the economic recovery gathers momentum.
ADP and Gallup say the same thing. More jobs, higher unemployment rate.
Via email, no link available…
Sausalito, CA – November 3, 2010 – TrimTabs Investment Research estimates that the U.S. economy added 95,000 jobs in October, the first monthly increase since May.
“The economy clearly improved in October,” said Madeline Schnapp, Director of Macroeconomic Research at TrimTabs. “Unfortunately, the gains probably aren’t sustainable.”
Multiple indicators suggest the labor market perked up last month. Real-time tax data shows wage and salary growth accelerated, TrimTabs’ proprietary measure of online job postings jumped 5.6%, and initial unemployment claims fell to the lowest level since August 2008.
In a research note, TrimTabs argues that the economy will remain stuck in slow-growth mode. October’s employment increase likely owes to temporary factors such as inventory building. Also, a cheaper dollar boosted exports, and record low mortgage rates spurred refinancing activity.
“Economic growth is likely to stay sluggish because the private sector isn’t able to pick up the slack from waning government stimulus,” Schnapp noted. “State and local government budget crises and the weak housing market will be significant drags on growth for a long time.”
That low in initial unemployment claims vanished today with an adjusted initial claims total of 457,000, an increase of 20,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 437,000.
The Bloomberg Survey average was +60,000.
The U.S. jobless rate held at 9.6 percent for a third month in October, according to a Bloomberg News survey before today’s Labor Department report. Payrolls likely rose by 60,000, the first increase since May, a separate survey showed.
Anything from +40,000 to +110,000 seems like a reasonable guess. I certainly would not be surprised to see a number in the upper end of that range. Stores are hiring, Black Friday sales are starting 3 weeks early, and ISM reports seemed surprisingly strong.
However, I do not think positive surprises will hold.
TrimTabs says it best “Economic growth is likely to stay sluggish because the private sector isn’t able to pick up the slack from waning government stimulus. State and local government budget crises and the weak housing market will be significant drags on growth for a long time.”
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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