2016 Economic Calendar
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Employment Situation  
Released On 1/8/2016 8:30:00 AM For Dec, 2015
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Nonfarm Payrolls - M/M change211,000 252,000 200,000 170,000  to 249,000 292,000 
Unemployment Rate - Level5.0 %5.0 %4.9 % to 5.0 %5.0 %
Private Payrolls - M/M change197,000 240,000 193,000 160,000  to 246,000 275,000 
Participation Rate - level62.5 %62.6 %
Average Hourly Earnings - M/M change0.2 %0.2 %0.1 % to 0.3 %0.0 %
Av Workweek - All Employees34.5 hrs34.5 hrs34.5 hrs to 34.6 hrs34.5 hrs

Highlights
The labor market is stronger than most assessments with December results well outside top-end estimates and big upward revisions underscoring the strength of prior months. Nonfarm payrolls jumped 292,000 in December which is 92,000 above the consensus and 43,000 above Econoday's high forecast. The gain importantly is led by professional & business services which is considered a leading component for future hiring and which rose 73,000 for the second outsized gain of the last three months. Construction, boosted by the nation's unseasonable weather, has also been adding workers, up 45,000 in December. Upward revisions to the two prior months total 50,000 with November now at 252,000 and October over 300,000 at 307,000.

Despite payroll strength, the unemployment rate held steady at 5.0 percent as more people looked for work in the month. The labor force participation rate improved 1 tenth to 62.6 percent as did the employment-to-population ratio, to 59.5 percent. Wages, also despite the payroll strength, came in unchanged though the year-on-year rate, boosted by an easy year-ago comparison, rose 2 tenths to 2.5 percent which, however, is lower than many expected. The average workweek held unchanged at 34.5 hours while manufacturing hours slipped 0.1 percent which will pull down estimates for next week's industrial production report.

Turning back to industry payrolls, the bureau of labor statistics is highlighting a 34,000 rise in temporary help services. This is a subcomponent of professional & business services and is considered an especially sensitive barometer for future hiring. Other industries posting gains include trade & transportation at 31,000, government at 17,000, and manufacturing at a modest 8,000. Mining payrolls, hurt by low commodity prices, continue to contract, down 8,000 and are one of the few industries in the minus column.

This report is strong and should confirm confidence that the U.S. economy is, or at least was in December, largely insulated against global weakness. The strength of this report is certain to grab global attention though the lack of wage punch underscores the two-track economy and the Fed's dilemma -- strong job growth but weak inflation.

Recent History Of This Indicator
Nonfarm payrolls are expected to rise 200,000 in December in what would extend a run of very solid employment reports. Strength near the high end forecast of 249,000, or a dip to 4.9 percent for the unemployment rate, would likely seal early expectations for another rate hike at the March FOMC.

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 t
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
 

2016 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/82/53/44/15/66/37/88/59/210/711/412/2
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