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Is Full Time Employment a Trend or Noise? Let's Compare Today to the Great Recession

Despite the headline numbers, today's job report was quite weak. But is that noise?
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Payroll and employment data from the BLS, chart by Mish

Payroll and employment data from the BLS, chart by Mish

Payrolls vs Employment Since March 2022

  • Nonfarm Payrolls: +2,452,000
  • Employment Level: +150,000
  • Full Time Employment: -490,000

Employment fell by 328,000 in October.

Full time employment is down 490,000 since March and down by 572,000 since May!

Some say employment is noise. Let's tune into the discussion.

Household Survey vs Establishment Survey 

In Search of Noise

Trend or Noise?

Watch the Turns

Mish: "As for misleading - I suggest the household survey and full time employment may be the one to watch at turns, not the establishment survey."

Great Recession Flashback 

Payroll and employment data from the BLS, chart by Mish

Payroll and employment data from the BLS, chart by Mish

Great Recession Synopsis 

  • Two months prior to start of recession, jobs were 138,284,000. 
  • Five months into recession, jobs were 138,035,00. 
  • Two months prior to start of recession, full time employment was 121,875,000.
  • Five months into recession, full time employment was 120,708,000.
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In a span of 7 months, jobs fell by 249,000.

In the same span, full time employment fell by 1,167,000.

Current Setup

Since March of 2022, payrolls are up about 2.5 million but full time employment is down by 490,000.

All of the employment rise (and then some) since March is part-time employment. But that's a mere 150,000 in seven months since March. 

Looking Ahead

Due to tech, financial, and housing losses, I expect the next jobs report will be even weaker, possibly (if not likely) job losses.

Perhaps that's the market focus. Who knows? I don't and no one else does either. 

Noise Watch vs Reality Watch

  • Looking for trend changes ahead of recessions? Watch full time employment, not jobs.
  • A 7-month employment trend in a clearly weakening economy is unlikely to be noise.
  • Putting meanings on day-to-day market events is noise, much if not most of the time. 

I discussed the lead chart earlier today in Lost in the Strong Jobs Meme, Full Time Employment is Down 572,000 Since May

This is a follow up on what is and isn't likely to be noise.

This post originated at MishTalk.Com

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