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5 Oct. 2015 Why are Payroll Gains Slowing When Employers Want to Hire? (Publication Centre)

It is possible that the broad-based softness of September payrolls captures a knee-jerk reaction on the part of employers, choosing to wait-and-see what happens to demand in the wake of stock market correction. But that can't be the explanation for the mere 136K August gain, because the survey was conducted before the market rolled over. Even harder to explain is the hefty downward revision to August payrolls, after years of upward revisions. All is not yet lost for August--the last time the first revision to the month was downwards, -3K in 2010, the second revision was +56K--but we aren't wildly optimistic.

19 August. 2016 The Consumer Bubble Will Pop Around the Year-End (Publication Centre)

It would be a serious mistake to conclude from July's retail sales figures that consumers' spending will be immune to the fallout of the Brexit vote. Households have yet to endure the hiring freeze and pay squeeze indicated by surveys of employers, or the price surge signalled by sterling's sharp depreciation. The real test for consumers' spending lies ahead.

4 July 2018 Rising Household Saving Likely will Keep Spending Growth Subdued (Publication Centre)

The economy would have ground to a halt last year had households not reduced their saving rate sharply.

31 October 2018 The October ADP will be Constrained by the Soft September Payroll Data (Publication Centre)

Today's October ADP measure of private payrolls likely will overshoot Friday's official number.

30 November. 2016 ADP Likely to Signal Decent Payroll Growth (Publication Centre)

The November ADP employment report today likely will show private payrolls rose by about 180K. We have no reason to think that the trend in payroll growth has changed much in recent months, though the official data do appear to be biased to the upside in the fourth quarter, probably as a result of seasonal adjustment problems triggered by the crash of 2008. We can't detect any clear seasonal fourth quarter bias in the ADP numbers.

27 October 2017 Will Future Increases in the National Living Wage Fuel Inflation? (Publication Centre)

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, which contains granular detail on wages and provides a useful cross-check on the regular average weekly wage earnings--AWE--data, was published yesterday.

21 July 2017 What to Look for from the Fed and the Data Over the next Two Weeks (Publication Centre)

Chair Yellen remains as committed as ever to the idea that the tightening labor market will eventually push up inflation, but the unexpectedly weak core CPI readings for the past four months have complicated the picture in the near-term.

26 June 2018 Treat Surveys Pointing to Faster Wage Growth Sceptically (Publication Centre)

This was supposed to be the year that wage growth finally would pick up and signal clearly to the MPC that the economy needs higher interest rates.

6 May. 2016 Payrolls Likely On Trend - Watch Out for a Rebound in Wages (Publication Centre)

Barring some sort of out-of-the-blue shock, we are much more interested in the hourly earnings data today than the headline payroll number. The key question is the extent to which wages rebound after being depressed by a persistent calendar quirk in both February and March.

28 November. 2016 The Housing Slowdown Next Year Will be Offset by Fiscal Easing (Publication Centre)

We have been asked how we can justify raising our growth forecasts but at the same time arguing that the housing market is set to weaken quite dramatically, thanks to the clear downshift in mortgage applications in recent months. Applications peaked back in June, so this is not just a story about the post-election rise in mortgage rates.

6 October 2017 Political Risks are Rising in the Eurozone, Should Markets Care? (Publication Centre)

Political risks have been making an unwelcome comeback in the Eurozone in the past month. In Germany, last month's parliamentary elections--see here--has left Mrs. Merkel with a tricky coalition- building exercise.

8 June 2017 Hiring Plans Signal 200K-plus Summer Payroll Gains (Publication Centre)

Our core view on the May payroll number remains that the single most likely cause of the unexpectedly modest increase is a seasonal adjustment error, triggered when the survey is conducted early in the month.

8 September. 2016 Claims, JOLTS, and Sales Don't Support the Grim ISM Message (Publication Centre)

We argued yesterday that the steep declines in the ISM surveys in August, both manufacturing and services, likely were one-time events, triggered by a combination of weather events, seasonal adjustment issues and sampling error. These declines don't chime with most other data.

8 January 2018 The Labor Market is Still Tightening, Don't Fret over December Payrolls (Publication Centre)

We aren't perturbed by the undershoot in December payrolls, relative both to the October and November numbers and all the leading indicators.

7 December. 2016 Durable Goods Orders Plunged Last Month, but the Core is Stabilizing (Publication Centre)

Unless Boeing received a huge aircraft order on November 30, we can now be pretty sure that most of October's 4.6% leap in headline durable goods orders reversed last month. Through November 29, Boeing booked orders for 34 aircraft, compared to 85 in October. Moreover, the bulk of the orders were for relatively low value 737s, whereas the October numbers were boosted by a surge in orders for 787s, whose list price is about three times higher.

2 September. 2016 Downside Risk for Hourly Earnings - Two Calendar Quirks Coincide (Publication Centre)

The key market risk in the August employment report is the hourly earnings number. The consensus forecast is for a 0.2% month-to-month increase, in line with the underlying trend, but the balance of risks is firmly to the downside.

6 September 2018 ADP Will Report Another Solid Gain in Private Payrolls for August (Publication Centre)

Labor demand appears to have remained strong through August, so we expect to see a robust ADP report today.

6 November 2017 Payrolls Restored, Expect a Dramatic Labor Market Tightening Next Year (Publication Centre)

The 351K net increase in payrolls reported Friday--a 261K October gain and a 90K total revision to August and September--puts the labor market back on track after the hurricanes temporarily hit the data.

24 November 2017 GDP Growth Remains too Reliant on Households Saving Less (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's second estimate of Q3 GDP confirmed that the U.K. economy has underperformed this year.

13 August 2018 Brexit's Chill Winds are Clearly Visible in the Q2 GDP Data (Publication Centre)

The Q2 GDP figures show that the economy has little underlying momentum.

11 October. 2016 Unemployment has Stopped Falling, For Now (Publication Centre)

The single most startling development in the labor market data in recent months is acceleration in labor force growth. The participation rate has risen only marginally, because employment has continued to climb too, but the absolute size of the labor force is now expanding at its fastest pace in nine years, up 1.9% in the year to September.

1 September 2017 Expect Strong August Payrolls, but Calendar Distortions will hit Wages (Publication Centre)

Leading indicators all point to a solid August payroll number. Survey-based measures of the pace of hiring signal a 200K-plus increase, and jobless claims--a proxy for the pace of gross layoffs--are at a record low as a share of the workforce.

14 November. 2016 How Will the Fed React to Next Year's Inflationary Shock? (Publication Centre)

Markets are beginning to grasp that President-elect Trump's economic plans, if implemented in full--or anything like it--will constitute substantial inflationary shock to the U.S.

2 December. 2016 Friendly Seasonals Set to Push Payrolls Back Above 200K? (Publication Centre)

Our payroll model, which incorporates survey data as well as the error term from our ADP forecast, points to a hefty 225K increase in November employment. We have tweaked the forecast to the upside because of the tendency in recent years for the fourth quarter numbers to be stronger than the prior trend, as our first chart shows.

2 June 2017 May Payrolls Likely Solid, but Calendar Quirk will hit Wage Data (Publication Centre)

The 253K increase in May private payrolls reported by ADP yesterday was some a bit stronger than our 225K forecast. Plugging the difference between these numbers into our payroll model generates our 210K forecast for today's official number.

2 February 2018 January Job Gains Likely Solid, Calendar Effects to Subdue AHE? (Publication Centre)

The case for expecting a robust January jobs number is strong, but it is not without risks.

1 November 2017 Will the Fed Upgrade its View on Growth Today? (Publication Centre)

The Fed will do nothing today, but the FOMC's statement will re-affirm the intention to continue its "gradual" tightening.

14 July. 2016 Faster Pay Gains for Job-Switchers Forcing Employers to Pay More (Publication Centre)

The details of the substantial pay raises being offered to some 18K JP Morgan employees over the next three years are much less important than the signal sent by the company's response to the tightening labor market. In an economy with 144M people on payrolls, hefty raises for JP Morgan employees won't move the needle in the hourly earnings data.

21 Oct. 2015 Are Payrolls Slowing Because the Pool of Labor Has Evaporated? (Publication Centre)

One of the possible explanations for the slowdown in payroll in growth in recent months is that the pool of labor has shrunk to the point where employers can't find the people they want to hire. That's certainly one interpretation of our first chart, which shows that the NFIB survey's measure of jobs-hard-to-fill has risen to near-record levels even as payroll growth has slowed.

12 Nov. 2015 NFIB Points to Rising Capex, and Modest Increases in Core Inflation (Publication Centre)

To the extent that markets bother with the NFIB survey at all, most of the attention falls on the labor market numbers. But these data--hiring, compensation, jobs hard-to-fill--haven't changed much in recent months, and in any event most of them are released the week before the main survey, which appeared yesterday. The message from the labor data is unambiguous: Hiring remains very strong, employers are finding it very difficult to fill open positions, and compensation costs are accelerating.

NEW YORK TIMES - U.S. Economy Added 257,000 Jobs in January - Unemployment Rate at 5.7% (Media Centre)

The economic momentum evident late last year carried into 2015, the Labor Department said Friday, with American employers adding 257,000 jobs in January as wage growth rebounded and more people joined the workforce

23 Nov. 2015 How to Scare Yourself Over the U.S. Inflation Outlook (Publication Centre)

Should you be feeling in the mood to panic over inflation risks--or more positively, benefit from the markets' underpricing of inflation risks--consider the following scenario. First, assume that the uptick in wages reported in October really does mark the start of the long-awaited sustained acceleration promised by a 5% unemployment rate and employers' difficulty in finding people to hire. Second, assume that the rental property market remains extremely tight. Third, assume that the abrupt upturn in medical costs in the October CPI is a harbinger o f things to come. And finally, assume that the Fed hawks are right in their view that the initial increase in interest rates will--to quote the September FOMC minutes--"...spur, rather than restrain economic activity". Under these conditions, what happens to inflation?

19 Oct. 2015 Real Wage Gains Signal the True Tightness of the Labor Market (Publication Centre)

Everyone is familiar by now with the conundrum in the labor market: How come wage gains have barely increased over the past few years even as the unemployment rate has fallen to very low levels, and business surveys scream that employers can't find the people they want? To give just one visual example of the scale of the apparent anomaly, our first chart shows the yawning gap between the headline unemployment rate and the rate of growth of hourly earnings, compared to previous cycles.

10 June. 2015 Tightening Labor market pushing up small firms' pricing plans? (Publication Centre)

The May NFIB survey and the April JOLTS report, both released yesterday, paint a coherent, if not yet definitive, picture of labor market developments which should alarm the Fed. The data suggest that the true labor supply, in the eyes of potential employers, is much smaller than implied by the BLS's measures of broad unemployment.

25 June. 2015 When Will Small Firms Run Out of Labor Market Insiders to Hire? (Publication Centre)

The high and rising proportion of small businesses reporting difficulty in filling job openings is perhaps the biggest reason to worry that the pace of wage increases could accelerate quickly. If they pick up too far, the Fed's intention to raise rates at a "gradual" pace will be upended. The NFIB survey of small businesses--mostly very small--shows employers are having as much trouble recruiting staff as at the peak of the boom in 2006.

7 July. 2016 June ADP Set to be Constrained by Weak May Payroll Data (Publication Centre)

We have argued frequently that the ADP employment report is not a reliable advance payroll indicator--see our Monitor of May 4, for example-- so for now we'll just note that it is generated by a regression model which includes a host of nonpayroll data and the official jobs numbers from the previous month. It is not based solely on reports from employers who use ADP for payroll processing, despite ADP's best efforts to insinuate that it is.

5 July 2018 ADP Likely to Report Another Solid Gain in Payrolls (Publication Centre)

Payroll growth rebounded to 223K in May, after two sub-200K readings, and we're expecting today's June ADP report to signal that labor demand remains strong.

WALL STREET JOURNAL - Economists react to the May jobs report: "Unambiguously Positive" (Media Centre)

Chief US economist Ian Shepherdson on the latest Jobs report

WALL STREET JOURNAL - Economists react to the May jobs report: "Unambiguously Positive" (Media Centre)

Chief US economist Ian Shepherdson on the latest Jobs report

BUSINESS INSIDER - Top economist throws shade at the 'research institute' that releases a widely followed jobs number (Media Centre)

Ian Shepherdsonon why the ADP report is simply not a reliable indicator

WALL STREET JOURNAL - Economists react to the May jobs report: "Unambiguously Positive" (Media Centre)

Chief US economist Ian Shepherdson on the latest Jobs report

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