Friday, March 05, 2010

Jobs report

For all of the prep work done by some members of the Administration telling us to brace for the jobs report, it wasn't all that bad.

Nonfarm payroll employment was little changed (-36,000) in February, and the unemployment rate held at 9.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment fell in construction and information, while temporary help services added jobs.

Severe winter weather in parts of the country may have affected payroll employment and hours; however, it is not possible to quantify precisely the net impact of the winter storms on these measures. ...Major winter storms affected parts of the country during the February reference periods for the establishment and household surveys. In the establishment survey, the reference period was the pay period including February 12th.

In order for severe weather conditions to reduce the estimate of payroll employment, employees have to be off work for an entire pay period and not be paid for the time missed. Workers who received pay for any part of the reference pay period, even one hour, are counted in the February payroll employment figures. While some persons may have been off payrolls during the survey reference period, some industries, such as those dealing with cleanup and repair activities, may have added workers.

So the weather impact appears to have been minimal but census hiring looks to have added 15,000 jobs.

I'll be interested to see the magical birth/death adjustment which for some reason is not online yet. That won't help fight off the tinfoil hat crowd.

More coming soon.

UPDATE:

The hours worked data is one of the key leading indicators within the jobs report and it is decidedly negative...

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls declinedby 0.1 hour to 33.8 hours in February. The manufacturing workweek for allemployees dropped by 0.4 hour to 39.5 hours, and factory overtime decreasedby 0.2 hour over the month. In February, the average workweek for productionor nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls fell by 0.2 hour to33.1 hours.

This could be a result of the poor winter weather, but it's worth noting. As someone else noted, with the average work week down to just 33.8 hour we're practically a nation of part-timers.

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