Mar 4, 2005

Positive Employment Headlines but...

I watched the report come out on CNBC and always marvel at how important the comparison to consensus is for them. They have been pitching the same "not too hot, not too cold" story about the jobless recovery for over a year now. Their take was that the numbers beat consensus but not by too much, maintaining growth but without inflation fears.

Brian Reynolds says: "We think it is a weak number under the surface. The Birth/Death model swung from -280k [in Jan.] to +100k [in Feb.], as we expected, adding 380k to the total, so the underlying trend of jobs weakened markedly. In addition the pace of aggregate hours worked looked slightly more modest than previously thought."(minyanville $$)

I am not a payroll economist but still noticed that half a million people (a full million if you don't trust the seasonal adjustments) opted for part-time work for non-economic reasons with the headline unemployment rate still rising. That is a bit odd but maybe that sort of shift takes time to carry through to create demand for replacement. Would certainly slow the pace of aggregate hours. The full report is here.

The economy maintains the status quo while giving the Fed the green light to hike rates further.

**added at 1:13 PM - Barry Ritholtz chimes in on the not-too-hot-not-too-cold side.

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