2017 Economic Calendar
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Employment Situation  
Released On 5/5/2017 8:30:00 AM For Apr, 2017
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Nonfarm Payrolls - M/M change98,000 79,000 185,000 150,000  to 225,000 211,000 
Unemployment Rate - Level4.5 %4.6 %4.5 % to 4.6 %4.4 %
Private Payrolls - M/M change89,000 77,000 180,000 158,000  to 210,000 194,000 
Participation Rate - level63.0 %62.9 %
Average Hourly Earnings - M/M change0.2 %0.1 %0.3 %0.2 % to 0.4 %0.3 %
Average Hourly Earnings - Y/Y change2.7 %2.6 %2.7 %2.7 % to 2.9 %2.5 %
Av Workweek - All Employees34.3 hrs34.4 hrs34.3 hrs to 34.4 hrs34.4 hrs

Highlights
The labor train is back on the tracks as nonfarm payrolls reversed the prior month's weakness and came in on the high side of expectations, up 211,000 in April vs a revised 79,000 in March for the third 200,000 plus reading so far this year. Payroll gains are centered in business services, in what points to capacity constraints among employers, and also government which added 17,000 to April's total.

Strength in the labor market continues to pull down the unemployment rate which fell 1 tenth to 4.4 percent for the lowest reading since May 2001. This rate is derived from a separate set of data where the number for unemployed fell by 146,000. There were very few new entrants into the labor market during the month, squeezing what are already tight conditions and pulling down the pool of available workers to 12.8 million from 13.0 million. And the labor participation rate, despite gains in employment, is down 1 tenth to 62.9 percent.

Tight conditions haven't yet sparked much pressure in average hourly earnings which did rise a respectable 0.3 percent in the month though the year-on-year rate fell 1 tenth to a very soft 2.5 percent. How long wages can stay quiet given the lack of available labor is an open question.

The first quarter was unusually weak for the economy and today's report marks an important start for what will hopefully be a much stronger second quarter. But very sizable payroll growth in January and February (at 216,000 and 232,000) failed to give any lift to the consumer who, when it came to spending, retrenched in the first quarter. Still, this report is an unquestionable plus that suggests prior weakness may very well have been, as the FOMC argued in Wednesday's statement, no more than "transitory".

Recent History Of This Indicator
Nonfarm payroll growth, at a consensus 185,000 in April, is expected to improve from March's disappointing gain of 98,000. But the unemployment rate, which in March came in at an expansion low of 4.5 percent, is expected to retrace 1 tenth of the improvement to a consensus 4.6 percent. The workweek in March, held down by the heavy weather of the mid-month sample week, was noticeably soft and is expected to rise to 34.4 from 34.3 hours. Average hourly earnings were also soft but aren't expected to improve, at a monthly consensus gain of 0.3 percent for a year-on-year rate of 2.7 percent. Consensus results would point to a good start for a second quarter that needs to make up lost ground as the first quarter proved weak for the economy.

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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