2011 Economic Calendar
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Employment Situation  
Released On 2/4/2011 8:30:00 AM For Jan, 2011
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Nonfarm Payrolls - M/M change103,000 121,000 140,000 55,000  to 200,000 36,000 
Unemployment Rate - Level9.4 %9.5 %9.2 % to 9.6 %9.0 %
Private Payrolls - M/M change113,000 139,000 150,000 72,000  to 210,000 50,000 
Average Hourly Earnings - M/M change0.1 %0.2 %0.1 % to 0.2 %0.4 %
Av Workweek - All Employees34.3 hrs34.3 hrs34.3 hrs to 34.4 hrs34.2 hrs
Nonfarm Payroll - level130.712 millions

Today's employment report is about as mixed as you can get. Payroll jobs are disappointingly anemic while the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell sharply. Overall payroll employment in January posted a minimal 36,000 increase, following a revised 121,000 gain in December and a 93,000 advance in November. The January boost fell short of analysts' estimate for a 140,000 gain. The November and December revisions were down net 4,000. The private sector barely did little better than overall as private nonfarm payrolls increased 50,000 in January, down from a 121,000 boost the prior month. The consensus expected a 150,000 gain.

For the latest month, private service-providing jobs rose 32,000 after a 146,000 increase in December. A standout subcomponent is retail trade which posted a 28,000 increase despite bad weather. Goods-producing jobs rebounded 18,000, following a 7,000 decrease in December. Manufacturing is showing a boost in momentum as jobs jumped 49,000 after a 14,000 gain the month before. Construction likely was damped by adverse weather, falling 32,000 in January, following a 17,000 decline the prior month. Mining edged up 1,000 in January. Government jobs fell 14,000, following an 18,000 drop in December.

Wage gains improved in the latest month. Average hourly earnings in January rose 0.4 percent, following a 0.1 percent uptick the prior month. The January figure topped the market median estimate for a 0.2 percent increase. Most likely, the rise in earnings was due to the jump in manufacturing employment-in a high wage sector. The average workweek for all workers posted at 34.2 hours, compared to analysts' forecast for 34.3 hours.

On a year-ago basis, overall payroll job growth rose to up 0.8 percent in January from up 0.7 percent in December.

Turning to the household survey, the unemployment rate fell to 9.0 percent from December's unexpectedly low 9.4 percent. The market median estimate was for 9.5 percent. The decrease was largely due to a 504,000 drop in the labor force but household employment rose moderately, up 117,000.

Today's report is baffling, given it contrasts so much with recent surveys showing gains in employment. Severe winter weather may have played a role in delaying hiring. The boost in manufacturing employment is encouraging and likely portends a general strengthening in demand for labor. Also, the boost in retail trade is suggestive of rising optimism in the business community.

Consensus Outlook
Nonfarm payroll employment in December gained a modest 103,000, following a revised 71,000 rise in November and a 210,000 boost in October. Private sector payrolls increased 113,000 in December, following a 79,000 advance the month before. Average hourly earnings in December edged up 0.1 percent, following no change the previous month. Turning to the household survey, the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 9.4 percent from 9.8 percent in November. The rate declined in part due to a notable drop in the labor force, suggesting the unemployment rate will rebound when discouraged workers return.

The most closely watched of all economic indicators, the employment situation is a set of monthly labor market indicators based on two separate reports: the establishment survey which tracks 650,000 worksites and offers the nonfarm payroll and average hourly earnings headlines and the household survey which interviews 60,000 households and generates the unemployment rate.

Nonfarm payrolls track the number of part-time and full-time employees in both business and government. Average hourly earnings track employee pay while the average workweek, also part of the establishment survey, tracks the number of hours worked. The report's private payroll measure excludes government workers.

The unemployment rate measures the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labor force. In order to be counted as unemployed, one must be actively looking for work. Other commonly known data from the household survey include the labor supply and discouraged workers.  Why Investors Care
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
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

2011 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/72/43/44/15/66/37/88/59/210/711/412/2
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

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