Reclaiming Common Sense

April Jobs Report: Dueling Data Sets Again

Workers Soared, Unemployment fell Dramatically, Wages Rose, Jobs Slightly Higher

The monthly employment situation report, or Jobs Report, is created using two different data sets: the Current Population Survey (CPS) Jobs and Unemployment Data and the Current Employment Statistics (CES) Worker and Wages data. The two data sets have seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted components. The seasonal factors change by data set, category, month and year. The seasonally adjusted (SA) and non-seasonally adjusted (NSA)  CES data point to growth in all sectors. The CPS data has some differences between the NSA and SA data. The two data sets have been out of synchronization this year during the first four month of the year.

The April Jobs Report painted a picture of Workers Rising, Unemployment Fall and Participation Stalling. The article "April Jobs Report: What On-Coming Storm" detailed how the private sector added over 1 million non-seasonally adjusted workers and reported a gain of 236,000 seasonally adjusted (SA) private sector workers and 263,000 SA Non-farm Payroll (NFP) workers. The "problem" was that we "only" added 393,000 NSA Full-time Time jobs and 124,000 part-time jobs, NSA CPS. The data indicated a much higher value. This meant that we had seasonally adjusted CPS job contraction plus SA U-3 unemployment contraction.

We saw a huge jump in Professional Business Services, Leisure and Hospitality, and Construction workers. The recent JOLTS Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey Data has reported the most Job Opening, Quits, Separations, and Hires in four sectors: Leisure and Hospitality (LAH,) Education and Health Services (EHS) Professional Business Services (PBS,) and Trade, transportation and Utilities (TTU.) (All data referenced is non-seasonally adjusted unless noted.)

  • LAH up 333,000 (2.05% Month To Month)
  • PBS Up 289,000 (1.37% MTM)
  • Construction up 211,000 (2.94% MTM)

The annual growth rates were up for Mining and Logging (M/L) by 4.06%, Construction 3.59%,  LAH at 2.81%, PBS at 2.56% and Education and Health Services (EHS) at  2.49%

Wages were up month to month and annually for almost all sectors. The only sector that saw month to month stagnation was "Other Services (OS.) No sector saw their total earnings or wage growth decline. Wages spiked the most for IT (3.69%,) LAH(3.51%,) Construction 3.17%, TTU (3.08%,) and M/L.(2.94%.)

We still have three sectors that have not returned to their April 2007 levels. Manufacturing continues to rise off of its low. Construction is at 7.329 million very close to the April 2007 level of 7.518 million. The IT peak was during 2001.The big story here is that we are seeing construction jobs rise. The more workers we have, the more starts and completions we can see posted in the New Construction Report.

Hours worked fell for most sectors this month, annualized.  Hours worked increased month to month for M/L, Construction, Manufacturing, TTU, IT, Financial Services (FIRE,) PBS, EHS, and LAH. Only OS saw stagnation on hours worked. Hours worked dropped annually because more workers make lighter work. Manufacturing is working overtime at 40.6 hours a week as is Mining and logging at 46.8%.

This was a strong report, from the CES worker data perspective. Workers jumped. Wages rose. When workers and wages rise total income rises. When incomes rise the retail sales can surge. If retail sales grow then the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grows then consumer confidence improves and the economy grows on top of the current growth.

It's the Economy.