2017 Economic Calendar
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Employment Situation  
Released On 4/7/2017 8:30:00 AM For Mar, 2017
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Nonfarm Payrolls - M/M change235,000 219,000 175,000 125,000  to 202,000 98,000 
Unemployment Rate - Level4.7 %4.7 %4.6 % to 4.8 %4.5 %
Private Payrolls - M/M change227,000 221,000 170,000 125,000  to 205,000 89,000 
Participation Rate - level63.0 %63.0 %
Average Hourly Earnings - M/M change0.2 %0.3 %0.3 %0.2 % to 0.3 %0.2 %
Average Hourly Earnings - Y/Y change2.8 %2.7 % to 2.9 %2.7 %
Av Workweek - All Employees34.4 hrs34.3 hrs34.4 hrs34.4 hrs to 34.5 hrs34.3 hrs

Highlights
Throw ADP out, it was the weather in March! Or at least the Category 3 storm that swept the Northeast may explain a much weaker-than-expected 98,000 increase in March nonfarm payrolls. This compares with Econoday's consensus for 175,000 and a low estimate of 125,000. It is also the weakest reading since May last year.

But there is one standout sign of strength in the report and that's the unemployment rate which fell a very sharp 2 tenths to 4.5 percent as the number of unemployed fell by 326,000 to 7.2 million. This is the lowest unemployment rate since the height of the last expansion in April 2007 and it raises the issue of wage inflation which, however, has yet to build. Average hourly earnings rose only 0.2 percent in the month for a year-on-year rate that, at 2.7 percent, is down 1 tenth in the month and further away from the 3 percent line.

Lack of highly skilled entrants is one likely reason for the lack of wage traction but soft economic conditions may also be a factor. The average workweek slipped in the month to 34.3 hours from 34.4 hours with manufacturing declining to 40.6 hours from 40.8. For manufacturing production, this points to an abrupt and unexpected interruption and one perhaps consistent with heavy weather.

Retail trade fell 30,000 in March following February's 31,000 decline. Trade & transportation payrolls decreased 27,000 following a 16,000 decline. But both manufacturing and mining show useful gains, at 11,000 each and with construction, despite the weather, still rising 6,000. The government hiring freeze put in place in late January didn't hurt March payrolls for this reading which rose 9,000.

The big storm hit during the sample week of the employment report and apparently delayed new hiring, or at least that will be today's takeaway. Though there may be a snapback ahead for April payrolls and despite the drop in the number of unemployed, the report does tone down the economic outlook and hints at March trouble for consumer spending which had already opened the year off softly.

Recent History Of This Indicator
Two prior months of much stronger-than-expected growth are not expected to be matched in March where the Econoday consensus is calling for a 175,000 rise in nonfarm payrolls. This would be very healthy but well down from 235,000 and 238,000 in the two prior months. The outlook for average hourly earnings is mixed with the month-to-month consensus looking for a sizable 0.3 percent gain but not the year-on-year rate which is seen unchanged at 2.8 percent. The unemployment rate, at a consensus 4.7 percent, is seen unchanged with the average workweek also seen unchanged 34.4 hours.

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 t
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
 

2017 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/62/33/104/75/56/27/78/49/110/611/312/8
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov
 


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