Anticipating The Employment Report

Includes: DIA, IWM, QQQ, SPY
by: Doug Short

The most important economic news this week is today's employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This monthly report contains a wealth of data for economists, probably the most significant in the near term being the month-over-month change in Total Nonfarm Employment (the PAYEMS series in the FRED repository).

Yesterday we had the estimate for April nonfarm private employment from ADP at 220K new jobs and a TrimTabs estimates 242K total new jobs.

The ADP 220K estimate came in above the forecast of 210K for the ADP number.

The forecast for today's BLS report is 210 nonfarm new jobs (the actual PAYEMS number). The PAYEMS consensus is 210K new jobs and their own estimate is for a lower 200K.

Here is an excerpt from today's ADP report:

"The 220,000 U.S. private sector jobs added in April is well above the twelve-month average," said Carlos Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of ADP. “Job growth appears to be trending up and hopefully this will continue."

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, said, "The job market is gaining strength. After a tough winter employers are expanding payrolls across nearly all industries and company sizes. The recent pickup in job growth at mid-sized companies may signal better business confidence. Job market prospects are steadily improving."

Here is the press release from TrimTabs:

“While Wall Street has been fixated on the weather, the labor market has been gradually improving," said David Santschi, Chief Executive Officer of TrimTabs. "The economy has added an average of 182,000 jobs per month this year, a bit more than needed to keep pace with population growth.

TrimTabs' employment estimates are based on analysis of daily income tax deposits to the U.S. Treasury from the paychecks of the 137 million U.S. workers subject to withholding.

In a research note, TrimTabs explained that income tax withholdings are not the only sign the economy has perked up. The TrimTabs Macroeconomic Index—a proprietary index of 16 leading economic indicators—points to a moderate expansion. Also, unemployment claims data improved in recent weeks.

“The economy has chugged along early this year despite the Fed's ‘tapering,' probably because printing money didn't do much to help the Main Street economy in the first place," noted Santschi.

TrimTabs reported that wage and salary income increased 3.9% year-over-year in real terms in April, down from 5.8% year-over-year in February and 5.9% year-over-year in March. It attributed the pullback to the retreat of bonus-related effects that had been skewing growth higher, not any deterioration in the economy's underlying performance.

Here is a visualization of the three series over the previous twelve months along with the latest ADP and TrimTabs estimates. I've used the top end of the TrimTabs range for this chart.

A key difference among the three is that the ADP and the BLS series, unlike the TrimTabs data, are subject to substantial revisions. Also, as I point out in the chart above, TrimTabs tracks all salaried US employees; ADP tracks private employment, and the BLS series is for Nonfarm Payrolls.

For a sense of the critical importance of nonfarm employment for the economy, see my Big Four Economic Indicators, which I will be updating later today.

About this article:

Want to share your opinion on this article? Add a comment.
Disagree with this article? .
To report a factual error in this article, click here