By Karl Smith
The Payroll report this month was a pretty fair outlier, with the BLS estimating only 95K private sector jobs were created.
The most parsimonious explanation for a big miss is measurement error, but there is a trend worth watching. Retail employment not only fell. It was revised down in earlier months.
Previously the BLS estimated that retail employment had come roaring back in the later half of 2012. Now it seems that they’ve decided retail really is dying and that fall push was an anomaly.
That’s key because:
1) We can see retail dying before our eyes.
2) A one-time structural shift like this has got to be a hard thing to account for in the sampling procedure.
3) It's consistent with a strong decline in the labor force.
The decline in retail employment, the decline in teen employment and the decline in vehicle miles driven all come together to tell the same story: Kid don’t cruise. Don’t shop at the mall. Don’t work at the mall.
That 50s area ideal of a part-time job and a fixed up car is simply gone with the wind.