- by New Deal democrat
Important: There was a huge amount of seasonality in this report. This is common for December, but the issue was greatly exacerbated because of the outsized impact of the pandemic. Take the large changes in some of the data with many grains of salt.
I have been warning for almost 4 weeks that the December employment report might have a negative number. It did. At the same time, the internals are not nearly so bad as the headline.
Leading employment indicators of a slowdown or recession
I am still highlighting these because of their leading nature for the economy overall. These were generally positive:
Wages of non-managerial workers
Aggregate hours and wages:
Other significant data:
While the headline was a negative number, this was almost entirely due to huge declines of -372,000 in food and beverage establishments, and another -92,000 in amusement and recreation. Private education lost -63,000, and there were also sizable losses in local and state government.
In contrast, all of the leading job groups showed equally sizable gains, and residential construction employment made a new decade-plus high. Among leading employment indicators, only the increase in short term unemployment was a negative.
Full time jobs also showed gains, while part time jobs showed losses. Aggregate and average payrolls also rose sharply. While the average hourly wage increase can be put down to the heavily skewed nature of the new job losses, the aggregate increase which includes the total from all jobs, is a big positive, probably reflecting some annual raises.
This is an absolutely poor report as to current conditions, particularly 10 months into the pandemic. On the other hand, the leading sectors once again show that the economy - including employment - is primed for takeoff once the pandemic is brought under control.