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US: Decent payrolls report due to strong revisions

US: Decent payrolls report due to strong revisions

7.11.2011 9:23

The October US payrolls report showed a mixed picture: the headline figure for October was slightly weaker than expected, but the previous two figures were sharply upwardly revised. According to the official BLS reading, US employment rose by 80 000 last month, while the consensus was looking for an increase by 95 000. The August figure was upwardly revised from 57 000 to 104 000 and the September reading was adjusted from 103 000 to 158 000. All revisions taken into account, the payrolls report was 87 000 above the consensus estimate. Looking at the breakdown, private payrolls jumped by 104 000, while the public sector continued to lose jobs. In total, public sector jobs dropped by 24 000 led by the state government (-20 000), while employment in both the federal and local government dropped by 2 000 each. Within the private sector, payrolls fell by 10 000 in goods-producing (from +29 000 in September) led by weakness in the construction sector (-20 000 from 27 000), while the manufacturing sector added jobs (5 000 from -3 000) for the first time in three months. Employment growth in the services sector slowed significantly from September (114 000 from 162 000), but please keep in mind that they were boosted in September by 45 000 Verizon (37,17 USD, -0,75%) strikers returning to work. Without this special factor, job growth in the services sector was broadly the same in October as in September. The details of the services sector show strength was based in trade & transport (35 000 from 11 000), leisure & hospitality (22 000 from 13 000) and the financial sector (4 000 from -5 000), while the increase slowed in education & health (28 000 from 58 000) and business services (32 000 from 50 000). In information, employment dropped by 5 000 after a 34 000 boost in September, which was supported by the return of the Verizon strikers. Temporary help, which is often a good precursor for the headline figure, rose for a fourth straight month (15 000 from 21 000) although the pace of increase slowed somewhat from the previous month. Positive news came also from the household survey, which showed an unexpected drop in the unemployment rate in October, from 9.1% to 9.0%. The underlying development is also positive as the labour force grew by 181 000 (to 154.198 million), while the number of people unemployed dropped for the first time in three months (by 95 000 to a total number of 13.897 million). Employment increased for a third straight month, by 227 000 to 140.302 million. Aggregate hours worked rose slightly (by 0.1% M/M), while average weekly hours worked stabilized in October. Average hourly earnings continued to rise slowly (0.2% M/M). At first sight the report looks sluggish, but the details are not so bad, especially with the revisions taken into account and in the current extremely uncertain environment. While it is certainly no excellent report as job growth remains sluggish and insufficient to bring the unemployment rate significantly down, the numbers are moving in the right direction with no indications that the US economy is heading for a new recession.

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