Independent Strategy

Tags: Unemployment

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 ...

US

POST » 3rd April, 2020 » US March Non-Farm Payrolls

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.

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.

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