The disruption from the Coronavirus continues to impact the data with the employment numbers for May showing a significant deviation from expectations and the near 2mn loss reported in the May ADP report. Indeed, based on the preliminary numbers the economy added 2.51mn jobs over the month, which compares to the 20.69mn jobs lost in April. Methodological problems are again in evidence ...
Bleak payrolls report. While the median survey was always going to be a short in the dark, the -701k decline in jobs was significantly more troubling than the mkts -100k guess. That’s the worst number since March 2009, a period of losses that saw five consecutive payrolls figures below the -700k mark starting from November 2008. Looking at the past fortnights jobless claims figures the April number and revisions to this release will paint an even bleaker picture of the labour market. In the household survey nearly 2.987mn jobs were recorded lost.
ADP reported fewer than expected job losses for March, with a modest -24k drop (mkt -150k), which compares to the 3.3mn jump in initial jobless claims last week. Partly this is due to the survey dates (it tallies responses up to the 12th of the month). So we will see catch up next month. Prior month was revised down to 179k from 183k.
The rapid and devastating effect of Covid-19 on the labour market is unprecedented based on this week’s jobless claims. Initial claims in week ending came in at 3,283k which looks like a data error rather than an actual real data point. But real it is, and further increases look likely in the coming weeks as the economic stop continues to push people out of employment.
Tracking the strong ADP release on Wednesday, the January non-farm payrolls report also comfortably beat expectations. Weather has helped a bit last couple of months, with seasonal disruptions lower than normal, but that doesn’t detract from the underlying strength of the labour market.
Another positive surprise on the wages front with a strong pick up in the headline data. The rebound in weekly wage growth was partly due to a more favourable hours worked comparison though. Hourly wage growth has been steadier. Alongside steady inflation means real income growth has improved, continuing the recovery we’ve seen in recent months.
A positive surprise, particularly after the weak ADP number on Wednesday, with non-farm payrolls +224k in June, although there were mild downward revisions for the previous two months (-11k).
Modest improvement in the UK wages story. But it still appears that nominal gains are topping out with data flattered by the number of hours worked (at 32.2 vs. 31.8 in the same period a year ago). The stabilisation in nominal growth rates is not necessarily bad news for consumption given that inflation also looks to be moderating again, certainly at the headline level.