Friday, May 6, 2011

Payrolls Up +244,000

From Bloomberg:

The U.S. economy added more jobs than forecast in April, easing concern that higher fuel prices are slowing the economic recovery.

Payrolls increased by 244,000 workers last month, the biggest gain since May 2010, after a revised 221,000 gain the prior month, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Economists projected an April rise of 185,000, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Employment excluding government jobs jumped the most in five years. The jobless rate rose to 9 percent, the first increase since November.

More jobs and rising wages may give households, whose spending accounts for 70 percent of the economy, the means to overcome the highest gasoline prices in almost three years. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and some of his colleagues have signaled they plan to forge ahead through June with record monetary stimulus to bolster the expansion.

“The recovery has progressed into the self-propelling stage, where it’s less vulnerable to short-term swings in sentiment,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief economist at MF Global Inc. in New York, who forecast a gain of 250,000 jobs.

On a personal note -- I am very relieved by this report. The events of the last few days have been very concerning, with the rise in initial unemployment claims particularly being particularly hair-raising. This goes a long-way to arguing that what we're seeing are temporary fluctuations.

NDD here with a few comments:

- Unemployment ticked up .2% because the household survey showed 190,000 jobs *lost*.

- Manfuacturing workweek, a leading indicator, was unchanged.

- Private payrolls were up 268,000. Government jobs continue to slowly bleed.

- Construction jobs were unchanged. That area of hemorrhaging is over.

- Perhaps most importantly of all, February and March were both revised upward, by a total of 47,000. This continues the pattern of relentless upward revisions. In the last three months, job gains have averaged 233,000. Not jumping for joy numbers, but not bad at all either.

- Since nonfarm payrolls are the quintessential coincident indicator, and initial jobless claims are leading, unlike Bonddad these do not alleviate my concern about the next few months. For that, we need Oil to decline - anybody heard anything about that?