July Edition

The June jobs report was a 2nd straight solid report. Once again, the key was either no news or good news. Top-line employment growth was 288,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent – both well above my expectations (and a minor victory for ADP in predicting a strong number). The household survey showed growth in the labor force (81,000) and employment (407,000), allowing the fraction of the population that was employed to rise by 0.1 to 59.0.  On the no news front, the labor force participation rate was unchanged.

March Edition

Whatever you believed last month, continue to believe it. The February jobs report did not have much news. The core story in the February report is likely the impact of bad weather on hours worked, no surprise to all of us with mental scars from days inside and snow drifts outside. Jobs were up surprisingly strongly — 175,000 — and average hourly earnings rose a sharp 4.5 percent (annual rate). Weekly earnings were flat because hours were down by 0.2 percent. Workers are making more per hour, but working less.

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