Independent Strategy

Tags: Wages

Another month of strong payroll gain, the headline number showing a net gain of 943k jobs (mkt 870k) while revisions also shifted upward (a net 146k added for the past three months).  703k of the July gain came from private payrolls (mkt 700k).  Manufacturing added 27k jobs and government 240k, accounting for all of the surprise.  Labour participation edged up to 61.7% which left the unemployment rate at 5.7% (down from 5.9% but above the 5.4% median guess).  Prime age participation (25-54) saw a further surge, for both male and female workers.  This is a positive trend and reinforces our lack of concern for labour scarcity.  It’s important to contrast this with the post-GFC period where prime participation continued to fall after the initial crisis.

Strong payroll gains with some additional impetus from upward revisions.  Overall the economy added 850k jobs in June (mkt 700k) up from 583k in May (revised from 559k), of which 662k came from private payrolls (mkt 600k).  Manufacturing added 28k jobs and government 188k.  Labour participation unchanged at 61.6% and the unemployment rate actually ticked up to 5.9%, as job gains were netted off with an increase in the labour force.  Note prime age participation (25-54) increased for both male and female workers.  This is positive and should dampen worries about labour scarcity.

US

POST » 4th June, 2021 » US May Non-Farm Payrolls

While the US added 559k jobs in May according to the non-farm payrolls report, this marked another downside surprise for the series where the median estimate was up at 650k.  There was a modest upward revision to the April numbers (278k vs. 266k initially reported) but that doesn’t move the needle.  Private payrolls growth came in at 492k while manufacturing payrolls added 23k job and government 67k.  The unemployment rate dropped to 5.8% from 6.1% but this was aided by a decline in participation (61.6% from 61.7%).

The headline non-farm payrolls jobs figure surprised on the downside in April, with 266k jobs created versus the median forecast of 978k.  And the March figure was also revised downward by 146k.  Obviously, it was private payrolls that disappointed (+218k vs. 893k survey) while manufacturing jobs contracted slightly (-18k).  Government couldn’t make up for that but did offer a +48k contribution.  The unemployment rate actually ticked back to 6.1%, a result of the 0.2% pt improvement in participation and the work week ticked up again.

US

POST » 8th January, 2021 » US December Non-Farm Payrolls

December Non-farm payrolls recorded a -140k drop, quite a bit below the markets +71k guess.  This takes the 3m average down to +283k.  Private sector payrolls were a little better than the headline print at -95k, helped by manufacturing which added +38k jobs while the decline in government moderated to -45k.  That was still the fourth consecutive decline but is largely census related.  Despite the headline miss revisions were very positive, +91k in November alone

US

POST » 4th December, 2020 » US November Payrolls Report

November Non-farm payrolls number came in at +245k (mkt +469k), bringing the 3m average down to +5227k.  Private sector payrolls were a little better again at +344k but there is a sequential slowdown happening there too.  Manufacturing payrolls grew by 27k while we saw another month of government job losses, -99k, the third consecutive drop.  Revisions overall were down a bit, Oct NFP revised down to 610k vs. the 638k initially reported.

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 household income growth looked pretty solid with a 0.6% m/m gain during January, which tends seasonally, to be a weaker month.  That lifts the y/y rate back to a shade under 4.0%, although the near-term trend remains one of moderation.  On the spending side the increase surprised on the downside at +0.2% m/m and that pulled y/y growth back to 4.5%

Slight undershoot in the December payrolls report, but the 145k jobs created is only modestly below the 164k market guess and while the revisions from November were slightly downward that was a strong report in itself.  Over 12-months revisions are very mildly negative but not showing any real deterioration in trend since the summer.

US

POST » 6th November, 2019 » US Q3 (Prelim) Productivity

A rather disappointing first assessment of US productivity in the third quarter.  Non-farm productivity registered the first qoq decline since the end of 2015.  On the positive side the yoy rate still looks a reasonable 1.4%, compared to a 5-year average of 1.1%, but the trend still lacks much conviction.  Really, we’re still flatlining at best.  Labour costs were stronger than expected, rising at a 3.6% annualised rate in the non-farm sector overall.  That’ll raise the heckles of the hawks that view the tight labour market as a risk.

While the headline numbers looked ok versus consensus, they reinforced some of the trends we’ve seen over the last few months.  On the inflation side while there doesn’t seem much to worry about looking at the headline, there has been a build in core prices.  Core PCE picked up to just under 1.8% y/y, which fits with the (stronger) increase we’ve seen in core CPI.

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.

Mirroring the weak ADP figure the May payrolls numbers also surprised on the downside.  Revisions also downward, which also showed up in ADP’s release.  The participation rate was stable, as was the unemployment rate.  Hourly earnings were a little softer than expected and hours worked were flat at 34.4, which is down versus a year ago, dampening gains in weekly wage growth.

Another downside surprise for inflation.  While the headline y/y rate moved up to 1.49%, core PCE was flat on the month which took the y/y rate back down to just 1.553%.  That’s enough to round it up to 1.6% on the wires but it’s still the lowest print since Sep 2017.

Price data basically confirms what we knew, inflation is back in a moderating phase with dip in core highlighting that.  Income a little below expectations but the underlying wage story remains constructive, so nothing to be concerned about.  Although in terms of Fed priorities the pick-up in wage growth is not enough to offset broader demand concerns.

Global

REPORT » 14th February, 2019 » Tight-anic

Despite positive noises on wages from both the Fed and the ECB there is little sign we’re returning to the…

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