2011 Economic Calendar
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Employment Situation
Released On 3/4/2011 8:30:00 AM For Feb, 2011
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Nonfarm Payrolls - M/M change36,000 63,000 200,000 120,000  to 275,000 192,000 
Unemployment Rate - Level9.0 %9.1 %8.9 % to 9.3 %8.9 %
Average Hourly Earnings - M/M change0.4 %0.2 %0.0 % to 0.2 %0.0 %
Av Workweek - All Employees34.2 hrs34.3 hrs34.3 hrs to 34.4 hrs34.2 hrs
Private Payrolls - M/M change50,000 68,000 190,000 130,000  to 295,000 222,000 

Highlights
After several months of stagnant growth, the economy finally posted a respectively healthy gain in payroll jobs for February. Also, the unemployment rate unexpected slipped further. Overall payroll employment in February grew by 192,000, following a revised 63,000 rise in January and a 152,000 gain in December. The February advance came in marginally lower than the updated consensus forecast for a 200,000 gain (180,000 prior to Thursday's jobless claims report). The December and January revisions were up net 58,000. Private nonfarm payrolls were somewhat stronger, increasing 222,000 in February, following a 68,000 boost in January. Analysts had projected a 190,000 advance in the latest month.

By major sectors, the goods-producing numbers look good, showing a 70,000 jump, following a 35,000 rise in January. For the latest month, manufacturing jobs advanced 33,000 after a 53,000 boost in January. Even better, only 1,000 of the February gain in manufacturing was for motor vehicles. Construction employment increased 33,000 in February, following a 22,000 decline the prior month. Mining rose 4,000 in February.

Private service-providing jobs jumped 152,000 after a 33,000 increase in January. The latest was led by a gain of 47,000 in professional and business services with 16,000 coming from temp help. Health care employment continued to increase in February, expanding by 34,000. Transportation and warehousing employment increased by 22,000 in February, with half of that gain in truck transportation. On the downside, employment in retail trade slipped 8,000-possibly due to adverse winter weather.

Government jobs fell 30,000, following a 5,000 dip in January.

A disappointment in today's report was in earnings. Wage pressures eased in February as average hourly earnings were flat in February, following a 0.4 percent jump the previous month. The February number fell short of the consensus forecast for a 0.2 percent increase. However, given that February followed a very strong January, the latest number is not worrisome. The average workweek for all workers printed at 34.2 hours, compared to the market median forecast for 34.3 hours and prior month level of 34.2 hours.

On a year-ago basis, overall payroll job growth improved to up 1.0 percent in February from up 0.8 percent the prior month.

Turning to the household survey, the unemployment rate edged down to 8.9 percent from 9.0 percent in January. Analysts had expected 9.1 percent.

Today's report is quite encouraging in that a real boost in payroll employment helps to pump up the recovery as the jobs gain will support more consumer spending. The drop in the unemployment rate looks good statistically and politically but is a bit of a quandary as most economists have been expecting a surge in the labor force as discouraged workers return to the job hunt.

On the news, equities initially firmed but then eased slightly. Treasuries were little changed. Overall, the report was net as expected.

Market Consensus before announcement
NOTE: The consensus numbers reflect an updated survey posted Thursday afternoon, March 3. Nonfarm 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 private sector barely did any better as private nonfarm payrolls increased 50,000 in January, down from a 121,000 boost the prior month. 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 average workweek for all workers posted at 34.2 hours, compared to analysts' forecast for 34.3 hours. The unemployment rate fell to 9.0 percent from December's unexpectedly low 9.4 percent.

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
 

 

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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