2018 Economic Calendar
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Employment Situation  
Released On 3/9/2018 8:30:00 AM For Feb, 2018
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Nonfarm Payrolls - M/M change200,000 239,000 205,000 152,000  to 230,000 313,000 
Unemployment Rate - Level4.1 %4.0 %4.0 % to 4.1 %4.1 %
Private Payrolls - M/M change196,000 238,000 195,000 150,000  to 216,000 287,000 
Manufacturing Payrolls - M/M change15,000 25,000 17,000 8,000  to 22,000 31,000 
Participation Rate - level62.7 %62.7 %62.6 % to 62.8 %63.0 %
Average Hourly Earnings - M/M change0.3 %0.2 %0.1 % to 0.3 %0.1 %
Average Hourly Earnings - Y/Y change2.9 %2.8 %2.9 %2.8 % to 3.0 %2.6 %
Av Workweek - All Employees34.3 hrs34.4 hrs34.4 hrs34.3 hrs to 34.5 hrs34.5 hrs

Highlights
There's still no wage inflation underway but the flashpoint may be sooner than later based on unusual strength in the February employment report. Nonfarm payrolls rose an outsized 313,000 which is more than 80,000 above Econoday's high estimate. Revisions add to the strength, at a net 54,000 for January which is now 239,000 and December which is 175,000.

Strength in construction is a standout in the report as payrolls in the sector surged 61,000 in February following gains in the three prior gains that are all 40,000 and over. Manufacturing is also very strong, up 31,000 for a fifth straight strong gain. Retail, which has been uneven, added 50,000 as did professional & business services where the closely watched temporary help subcomponent spiked 27,000 in a tangible indication that employers are scrambling to fill positions. Government payrolls, which have been weak, added 26,000 to February's nonfarm total.

Despite all this strength average hourly earnings actually came in below expectations, at only plus 0.1 percent with the year-on-year 3 tenths under the consensus at 2.6 percent. But given how strong demand is for labor, policy makers at the Federal Reserve may not want to risk runaway wage gains as employers try increasingly to attract candidates.

The workweek further points to strength, up 1 tenth to an average 34.5 hours for all employees with the prior month revised 1 tenth higher to 34.4 hours (the private sector workweek rose 2 tenths to 38.8 hours with manufacturing also up 2 tenths to 41.0 hours in a gain that points to strength for next week's industrial production report).

The unemployment rate held at a very low 4.1 percent as discouraged workers flocked into the jobs market. The labor participation rate is another major headline, up 3 tenths to 63.0 percent and again well beyond high-end expectations.

The sheer strength of the hiring in this report would appear certain to raise expectations for four rate hikes this year as Fed policy makers may begin to grow impatient with their efforts to cool demand.

Consensus Outlook
Econoday's consensus for February growth in nonfarm payrolls is 205,000 in what would be an extension of January's strength at 200,000. The unemployment rate is expected to tick down to 4.0 percent which would increasingly point to full employment and the risk of wage inflation. But wage pressures aren't the call for the February report as average hourly earnings are seen rising a modest 0.2 percent in the month with the year-on-year rate unchanged at 2.9 percent. Private payrolls are expected to rise 195,000 with manufacturing payrolls expected to increase 17,000. The workweek is seen rising 1 tenth to 34.4 hours and the labor participation rate unchanged at 62.7 percent.

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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