2012 Economic Calendar
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Employment Situation
Released On 4/6/2012 8:30:00 AM For Mar, 2012
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Nonfarm Payrolls - M/M change227,000 240,000 201,000 180,000  to 239,000 120,000 
Unemployment Rate - Level8.3 %8.3 %8.1 % to 8.4 %8.2 %
Average Hourly Earnings - M/M change0.1 %0.3 %0.2 %0.1 % to 0.3 %0.2 %
Av Workweek - All Employees34.5 hrs34.6 hrs34.5 hrs34.5 hrs to 34.6 hrs34.5 hrs
Private Payrolls - M/M change233,000 233,000 224,000 205,000  to 246,000 121,000 

Highlights
Today's jobs report was clearly disappointing though the unemployment rate dipped to 8.2 percent. Payroll jobs in March advanced a modest 120,000, following increases of 240,000 in February (originally 227,000) and 275,000 in January (prior estimate up 284,000). The net revisions for January and February were up 4,000. Analysts expected a 201,000 increase for March.

Private payrolls were barely stronger than overall, rising 121,000 in March after a 233,000 increase the prior month. The median market forecast was for a 224,000 advance. Goods-producing was moderately strong while service-providing was very sluggish. Retail trade employment actually declined.

Goods-producing industry employment rose 31,000 after a 29,000 gain in February. For the latest month, manufacturing increased 37,000; construction dipped 7,000; and mining nudged up 1,000.

Private service-providing industry employment rose only 90,000, following a 204,000 boost in February. The big negative was a 34,000 decline in retail trade, somewhat conflicting with recently moderately favorable data on retail sales.

The public sector continued to shrink but just barely, slipping 1,000 in March after a 7,000 increase in February.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent, following a 0.3 percent gain in February. Expectations were for a 0.2 percent gain. The average workweek for all workers in March slipped to 34.5 hours from 34.6 in February. Analysts projected 34.5 hours for March.

From the household survey the dip in the unemployment rate to 8.2 percent from 8.3 percent reflected a 164,000 decline in the labor force. Household employment slipped 31,000. The median market forecast for the unemployment rate was for 8.3 percent in March.

The March employment report is disappointing. However, there are still plenty of questions. How did warm weather affect the data? Did earlier months in the year take away from spring? Monthly surveys are showing stronger numbers, showing increased hiring. Which should be believed? The logical conclusion is that more data are needed though the weight of the evidence currently is not good.

On the news, equity futures dipped. Equity markets are closed for the day.

Market Consensus before announcement
Nonfarm payroll employment in February grew 227,000 after gaining 284,000 in January and rising 223,000 in December. Overall payroll jobs now have risen more than 200,000 for three months in a row. Private payrolls were slightly stronger than overall, rising 233,000 in February after a 285,000 boost the month before. Average hourly earnings rose a modest 0.1 percent in February, following a 0.1 percent gain the month before. The average work week for all workers in February was unchanged at 34.5 hours. From the household survey, the steady unemployment rate at 8.3 percent reflected gains in both household employment and the labor force.

Definition
The employment situation is a set of labor market indicators based on two separate surveys in this one report. The unemployment rate equals the number of unemployed persons divided by the total number of persons in the labor force, which comes from a survey of 60,000 households (this is called the household survey). Workers are only counted once, no matter how many jobs they have, or whether they are only working part-time. In order to be counted as unemployed, one must be actively looking for work. Other commonly known figures from the Household Survey include the labor supply and discouraged workers.  Why Investors Care
 
[Chart]
During the mature phase of an economic expansion, monthly payrolls gains of 150,000 or so are considered relatively healthy. In the early stages of recovery though, gains are expected to surpass 250,000 per month.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
[Chart]
The civilian unemployment rate is a lagging indicator of economic activity. During a recession, many people leave the labor force entirely, so the jobless rate may not increase as much as expected. This means that the jobless rate may continue to increase in the early stages of recovery because more people are returning to the labor force as they believe they will be able to find work. The civilian unemployment rate tends towards greater stability than payroll employment on a monthly basis. It reveals the degree to which labor resources are utilized in the economy.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 

 

2012 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/62/33/94/65/46/17/68/39/710/511/212/7
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov
 


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