BOTTOM LINE: The January employment report contained a confusing set of data, as payroll job growth significantly disappointed, but the unemployment rate declined by one-tenth, reflecting large gains in household employment. Overall we see the report as slightly weaker than expected. Nonfarm payroll employment rose a disappointing 113k in January (vs. consensus +180k). By industry, retail trade declined 13k (vs. +63k in December), while health and education services?normally a consistent support for headline job growth?declined for the second consecutive month (-6k). Construction employment, which declined 22k in December amid adverse weather, added 48k, suggesting little negative weather impact in the January report. Government employment fell 29k, the worst performance since October 2012, split between federal (-12k) and state and local (-17k). Payroll job growth in November and December was revised by a cumulative 34k, consistent with the general tendency for positive back-revisions in the January report. Over the past three months, payroll employment rose an average rate of 154k per month.
Following last week's surprising passage of the preliminary approval to extend emergency unemployment claims, i.e. emergency jobless claims, for 3 months, when six republicans sided with democrats and gave approval to the original $6.4 billion legislation, there was an expectation that up to 1.4 million Americans would get their benefits extended once again (despite the so-called recovery in the economy, and the job market, instead of just all time high S&P500). Moments ago such hopes were dashed, when a Senate plan to restore long-term jobless benefits hit a wall Tuesday after Republicans withdrew their support amid complaints over cost and other issues.
"It's going to put my family and me out on the streets," is a perspective shared by many of the 1.3 million Americans about to lose their emergency unemployment claims. The program, started during the recession, was intended to help jobless people after they exhausted state benefits, typically lasting six months. House Republicans resisted continuing the benefits without budget cuts elsewhere to cover the cost. As Bloomberg reports, opponents say the extended benefits discourage the unemployed from accepting jobs and that the program should be curtailed, given the recovery in the nation’s labor market.This has profound implications for the oh-so-important unemployment rate that the Fed is so dependent upon...
The noise in the jobless claims data over the past few months has been unprecedented and yet the impressive jump lower in recent weeks has been trumpeted as the all-clear for Tapering and as a signal that the recovery is 'real' this time. Except, thanks to a huge 'glitch' in Florida's new CONNECT unemployment claims website, the data is completely FUBAR...
For the New Year, it seems that SOH, that last true refuge for pensive brooding bears, has been overrun with pompous bulls peddling & pumping a new 21st century high tech plateau of permanent prosperity, that would make even Irving Fisher's rose twittering cheeks blush. I wonder if old Irving would have Linked himself In or posted his rip roaring 20s rosy market views on a pretty pink Facebook page?
Sell bonds?? Buy bonds?? What should i do??
I'm so confused!!!
With claims from the backlog in California's systems "glitch" (which began in September) still working their way through the system, one can only imagine the debacle that this data really is as more people filed for unemployment claims that expected for the 3rd week in a row. 44,100 Federal workers applied for claims two weeks ago (and received it we presume as well as their back pay now) but the Labor department notes these claims are not reflected in the total. At 350k, vs 340k expectations, this is the first time since early January that we have seen 3 weeks in a row of missed expectations...
If our leaders could have recognized the signs ahead of time, do you think that they could have prevented the financial crisis of 2008? That is a very timely question, because so many of the warning signs that we saw just before and during the last financial crisis are popping up again. Many of the things that are happening right now in the stock market, the bond market, the real estate market and in the overall economic data are eerily similar to what we witnessed back in 2008 and 2009. It is almost as if we are being forced to watch some kind of a perverse replay of previous events, only this time our economy and our financial system are much weaker than they were the last time around. We have been living so far above our means for so long that most of us actually think that our current economic situation is "normal."
Bernanke today testifies on monetary policy before the House Financial Services Committee (formerly the Humphrey-Hawkins). The testimony will be released at 8:30 am NY with Q&A after his testimony. Tomorrow he testifies before the Senate Banking Committee but the prepared remarks are the same for both days. Indeed it’s likely that the Q&A will be where all the fun starts. As DB says, he will likely try to pull off the trick of continuing to prepare the groundwork for tapering but try to give bond markets something to help them fight off the pressure of higher yields. With no post-meeting press conference planned for the July 30th/31st FOMC, and Bernanke not scheduled to speak publicly until he appears at the Global Education Forum event on August 7th, this week’s testimony may well be the only remarks we hear directly from the chairman for some weeks.
Now that Bernanke has thrown in the towel and reverted back to the old bad news is good news regime (or did he - GETCO's vacuum tubes at least sure seem to think so), there was hardly anything more the market could ask for than a horrible Initial Claims print. It got just that with today's initial unemployment claims which soared from last week's upward revised 344K (only +1k revision this time) to 360K, well above the consensus (and Joe LaVorgna) forecast of 340K. Sure enough, the BLS said the July claims were difficult to seasonally adjust, so let's look at the NSA claims which jumped by 49,778 in the week ended July 6 to 384,829 making one wonder if the BLS' instruction in the holiday shortened week was to actually represent a worse economic reality unlike during the Obama pre-reelection months. The only other notable item in the report was the ongoing drop in Extended claims, with EUCs down by 23K to just 1.6 million, 1 million less than a year ago as claims exhaustion means ever more people drop out of the official labor pool. Permanently.
This a fairly broad topic, and any "rules" would be vague at best, so i'll use recent trading activity as an example. Often markets (and traders) are described as schizophrenic...and perhaps that should even be part of the job description....here's an example why...
Mission Accomplished it would seem. Initial claims printed at its lowest since January 2008 at 324k. This is well below expectations of 345k - the biggest beat since September 2011. California and New York dominated the data with over 70,000 claims between them (though both dropped from last week). Michigan added the most from last month's rolls with 'educational service indutrsy' job losses affecting MA, CT, and RI. Emergency Unemployment Claims appears to have shaken off its statistical aberration of 2013 and is down a modest 12k this week.
Sterling is has eclipsed the yen as the main focus in the foreign exchange market. The surprising news that has kicked it to fresh multi-month low was that the BOE is closer to easing policy than has been suspected. While it was a unanimous decision to leave rates on hold as expected, it was a tighter 6-3 vote on new asset purchases.
The market had expected a 8-1 vote. Of particular interest, it is the fourth time Governor King has been outvoted.
As is the case every Thursday, the BLS reported its weekly initial claims which unlike two weeks ago did not estimate the initial unemployment claims for America's most populous state when the number plunged, and has now missed expectations for two weeks in a row, printing at 366K, on expectations of a 360K number, while last week's 368K was as usual revised upward to 371K. As a result, the Mainspin Media already has its headline: Initial Claims decline by 5,000. Such is life under the US Department of Truth, even as unadjusted initial claims spiked by 16.7K to 386K in the week ended February 2. In other news, people on Extended Unemployment Comp plunged by 288K after soaring in the week prior, and making some wonder just what is going on with the EUC 2008 data series for it to get such massive weekly shifts each week.
The market has been rallying over the last few weeks as the bulls have definitely taken charge in the New Year. Most of the recent analysis has pointed to signs of an improving economy and stronger employment as the driving force behind the advance. My view has clearly been that it has been the impact of the Fed's liquidity injections pushing asset prices higher. There is one caveat here. Last winter was the warmest winter on record in 65 years which skewed much of the seasonal data by allowing work to continue when normally workers would have been shut in due to inclement weather. We are seeing the exact same anomalies occur this year as the winter is currently the warmest in the last 55 years combined, and when combined with lower energy prices, is giving a temporary boost to incomes. As we witnessed in 2012 - when the seasonal adjustments come back into alignment in the spring the drop off in reported economic activity will be fairly severe.