2018 Economic Calendar
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Employment Situation  
Released On 1/5/2018 8:30:00 AM For Dec, 2017
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Nonfarm Payrolls - M/M change228,000 252,000 191,000 160,000  to 210,000 148,000 
Unemployment Rate - Level4.1 %4.1 %4.0 % to 4.2 %4.1 %
Private Payrolls - M/M change221,000 239,000 185,000 163,000  to 205,000 146,000 
Manufacturing Payrolls - M/M change31,000 15,000 10,000  to 25,000 25,000 
Participation Rate - level62.7 %62.7 %62.6 % to 62.7 %62.7 %
Average Hourly Earnings - M/M change0.2 %0.1 %0.3 %0.2 % to 0.4 %0.3 %
Average Hourly Earnings - Y/Y change2.5 %2.4 %2.5 %2.5 % to 2.6 %2.5 %
Av Workweek - All Employees34.5 hrs34.5 hrs34.4 hrs to 34.6 hrs34.5 hrs

Highlights
Hiring cooled though employment levels are very high and there's also a hint of wage inflation in December's employment report. Nonfarm payrolls rose 148,000 which is lower than expected but still favorable and enough to absorb new entrants into the jobs market. Revisions are slightly negative with November now sharply higher, now at 252,000, but October sharply lower, to 211,000 for a net 9,000 decline.

The number of unemployed actively looking for work rose slightly to 5.308 million with the unemployment rate remaining at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent. The pool of available workers, which includes those not actively working but nevertheless wanting a job, held little changed at 11.884 million. The labor participation rate is also unchanged, at 62.7 percent.

Wage data show a little pressure as average hourly earnings rose a noticeable 0.3 percent on the month though November gets a 1 tenth downgrade to only a 0.1 percent gain. Year-on-year, this reading is moving in the right direction though very slowly, up 1 tenth to 2.5 percent.

The payroll breakdown shows two more outstanding months for construction, up 30,000, and manufacturing, up 25,000, in confirmation that housing and the factory sector accelerated into year end. Other industries are more subdued with retail falling 20,000 in results that will raise talk of brick-and-mortar decline while professional and business services rose a subdued 19,000 with the temporary help subcomponent up only 7,000. The average workweek for all private-sector employees came in unchanged at 34.5 hours.

The fundamental strength of this report contrasts a bit with the more moderate level of headline payroll growth and does raise the question, one that the Federal Reserve has been repeatedly asking in its Beige Book, whether scarcity of available labor, particularly skilled labor, is holding back business expansion -- that employers simply can't find the people they need.

Consensus Outlook
Nonfarm payrolls rose a stronger-than-expected 228,000 in November led by an outsized 31,000 increase for manufacturing and also including strong gains for construction and professional services. The average workweek rose 1 tenth to 34.5 hours while the unemployment rate held unchanged at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, both of which point to the risk of possible capacity constraints in the labor market. Wage inflation, though subdued, did show slight pressure with a 0.2 percent monthly gain in average hourly earnings and 1 tenth increase in the year-on-year rate to 2.5 percent. Another month of strength is the call for December where the consensus for nonfarm payrolls is 191,000 with the unemployment rate seen unchanged at 4.1 percent. Private payrolls are expected to rise 185,000; manufacturing payrolls are pegged at a 15,000 gain; average hourly earnings are seen rising 0.3 percent for a year-on-year 2.5 percent; the consensus for December's workweek is 34.5 hours and 62.7 percent for the labor participation rate, both of which would be unchanged.

Definition
The most closely watched of all economic indicators, the employment situation is a set of monthly labor market indicators based on two separate reports: the establishment survey which tracks 650,000 worksites and offers the nonfarm payroll and average hourly earnings headlines and the household survey which interviews 60,000 households and generates the unemployment rate.

Nonfarm payrolls track the number of part-time and full-time employees in both business and government. Average hourly earnings track employee pay while the average workweek, also part of the establishment survey, tracks the number of hours worked. The report's private payroll measure excludes government workers.

The unemployment rate measures the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labor force. In order to be counted as unemployed, one must be actively looking for work. Other commonly known data 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 unemployment rate measures those who have a job relative to those who are actively looking for a job. During recessions, those actively looking may grow discouraged, dropping out of the workforce and, in a counter- intuitive twist, putting downward pressure on the unemployment rate. During times of economic strength, workforce dropouts may regain their confidence and begin actively looking for a job once again which puts upward pressure on the unemployment rate.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
 

2018 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/52/23/94/65/46/17/68/39/710/511/212/7
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov
 


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