2010 Economic Calendar
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Event Definitions   |   Today's Calendar

Employment Situation
Released On 4/2/2010 8:30:00 AM For Mar, 2010
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Nonfarm Payrolls - M/M change-36,000 -14,000 200,000 75,000  to 300,000 162,000 
Unemployment Rate - Level9.7 %9.7 %9.5 % to 9.9 %9.7 %
Private Payrolls - M/M change
Average Hourly Earnings - M/M change0.1 %0.2 %0.2 %0.1 % to 0.3 %-0.1 %
Av Workweek - All Employees33.9 hrs33.9 hrs33.2 hrs to 34.0 hrs34.0 hrs

Highlights
Census hiring was not as strong as expected but private payrolls were healthy, posting a third consecutive gain. Nonfarm payroll employment in March rebounded 162,000, following a revised 14,000 decline in February and revised rise of 14,000 for January. The March gain came in below analysts' forecast for a 200,000 jump in employment. Importantly, the February and January revisions were up a net 62,000, inclusive of moving January from negative to positive territory.

While the headline payroll number was disappointing, the detail was positive. Private payrolls (which discount Census hiring and other government changes) jumped 123,000 in March, following an 8,000 rise in February and a 16,000 gain in January.

More specifically, Census hiring was up 48,000 in March, meaning that ex-Census, payroll jobs were up 114,000 for the month.

Sector detail was encouraging. Goods-producing jobs rebounded 41,000 after a 47,000 drop in February. Manufacturing employment was up 17,000, following a 6,000 boost in February. Notably, construction jobs rose 15,000 after a 59,000 drop the month before. This was the first gain in construction since June 2007. Mining advanced 8,000 in the latest month.

Private service-providing employment jumped 82,000 in March, following a 55,000 gain the month before. Temp jobs were up 40,000, following a 37,000 rise in February. Health care jumped 37,000 in March while leisure & hospitality gained 22,000. Retail trade increased 15,000 in March as wholesale trade was up 9,000. On the negative side, financial activities fell 21,000 in March.

On a year-ago basis, payroll jobs improved to minus 1.8 percent in March from minus 2.4 percent in February.

The big negative in the March report was for average hourly earnings. Wage inflation in March fell to a 0.1 percent decline from a 0.2 percent gain the month before. The consensus had expected a 0.2 percent advance. The average workweek (traditional series for production and nonsupervisory workers) improved to 33.3 hours in March from 33.1 the previous month. For all workers, the average workweek edged up to 34.0 hours from 33.9 hours in February.

From the household survey, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.7 percent in February and matched expectations.

Overall, today's report net was close to expectations. Stock futures rose somewhat and Treasuries rates firmed on the news.

Recent History Of This Indicator
Nonfarm payroll employment in February declined 36,000, following a 26,000 decrease in January. Weakness in February was led by a 64,000 drop in construction jobs. Manufacturing and mining both actually edged up. Service-providing jobs were up 42,000 in February with the highlight being a 48,000 jump in temp help. Despite these positive signs, the big negative is coming from the public sector as government jobs fell 18,000 despite the hiring of 15,000 temporary Census workers. Wage inflation in February eased to an anemic 0.1 percent rise from 0.2 percent the month before. From the household survey, the unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 percent in February. Looking ahead, an easing in the drop in construction plus a stronger gain in Census workers could put payroll jobs back in the positive column for March.

Definition
The employment situation is a set of labor market indicators based on two separate surveys in this one report. The unemployment rate equals the number of unemployed persons divided by the total number of persons in the labor force, which comes from a survey of 60,000 households (this is called the household survey). Workers are only counted once, no matter how many jobs they have, or whether they are only working part-time. In order to be counted as unemployed, one must be actively looking for work. Other commonly known figures from the Household Survey include the labor supply and discouraged workers.  Why Investors Care
 
[Chart]
During the mature phase of an economic expansion, monthly payrolls gains of 150,000 or so are considered relatively healthy. In the early stages of recovery though, gains are expected to surpass 250,000 per month.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
[Chart]
The civilian unemployment rate is a lagging indicator of economic activity. During a recession, many people leave the labor force entirely, so the jobless rate may not increase as much as expected. This means that the jobless rate may continue to increase in the early stages of recovery because more people are returning to the labor force as they believe they will be able to find work. The civilian unemployment rate tends towards greater stability than payroll employment on a monthly basis. It reveals the degree to which labor resources are utilized in the economy.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 

 

2010 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/82/53/54/25/76/47/28/69/310/811/512/3
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov
 


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