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Tag Archives: payrolls

Counting The Corroborated Stall, Not The Coming Lawfare Election Mess

While we wait for the electoral count to be sorted out by what we hope are competent and honest people (not holding our breath), there’s a greater muddle growing where it actually counts and where it’s never fully nor properly accounted. By a large and growing number of accounts, the US economy’s rebound seems to have stalled out back around June or July, an inflection unrelated to COVID case counts, too.The rebound is still rebounding, of course, and this upturn from May’s bottom produced...

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It Just Isn’t Enough

The Department of Labor attached a technical note to its weekly report on unemployment claims. The state of California has announced that it is suspending the processing of initial claims filed by (former) workers in that state. Government officials have decided to pause their efforts for two weeks so as to try and sort out what “might” be widespread fraud.The state is also using this time to get after a substantial backlog of previous initial claims yet to be processed. So, possibly fewer...

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Inflation Conditions Absent: Someone Call Jay

I missed it: did anyone ask Chairman Jay Powell how in the world he’s going to be able to create this “hot” inflation he already needs to balance out a decade without it (meaning: recovery and growth) in order to satisfy this newfangled average inflation target? And though he makes it sound like it’s a new thing, especially adding the word “flexible” before the term, it’s actually not new at all. But it sounds better if you think that it is.To have any chance the Fed will first have to...

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Who’s Negative? The Marginal American Worker

The BLS’s payroll report draws most of the mainstream attention, with the exception of the unemployment rate (especially these days). The government designates the former as the Current Employment Statistics (CES) series, and it intends to measure factors like payrolls (obviously), wages, and earnings from the perspective of the employers, or establishments. The Establishment Survey.Its cousin is called the Household Survey, or CPS, the Current Population Survey, which comes at everything...

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What’s Job (cuts) Got To Do With It (everything)

Survivor’s euphoria, but then what? Reopening momentum, though would that be enough on its own? More of a concern, the uptrend was heavily infused by government intervention. How much was organic, how much wastefully artificial (in the sense of “stimulus”; as economic aid, it was necessary)? So many questions, so much to try and sort out as we enter the all-important Q4. The second quarter broke downside records and introduced really the only thing that will matter. With tens of millions...

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Unfortunately Like Old Times: Back To Being The Star of the Payroll Show

The star of the show once again was the unemployment rate. Since the ratio is a byproduct of the Household Survey, not the Establishment Survey, that means the surprise upside in the other labor survey overshadowed the slowing rate of change in the payroll number everyone usually watches so much more closely. The headline figure gained +1.37mm payrolls (Est. Survey) in August 2020, though the private sector managed only +1.03mm of them (you’ve no doubt heard about ramping up Census hiring)....

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This Is No Time To Be Sentimental About Sentiment

OK, so not all of Germany’s bellwether business sector is gaga over Christine Lagarde. The particular subset of respondents who answer the survey from that country’s ZEW, if you recall, are absolutely nuts (about “stimulus.”) Other examinations have found rather less enthusiasm; still some degree of rising optimism, but nowhere near the exuberance displayed to the ZEW.The IFO’s sentiment surveys are one such set. The overall index, which combines views on the current situation with...

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With These Numbers, No Wonder Jobless Claims

We have to be somewhat careful in making too much out of statistics taken at extreme times like these. Massive moves can trigger unreliable noise in them. The second quarter of 2020 qualifies in every possible way. And the numbers it has produced are certainly extreme.Late last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued its preliminary assessment of labor productivity during last quarter’s interruption. A key component in economic potential, the BLS tries to tease out some idea of it...

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More Uncovered, The Monster Belying Monster Jobs Numbers

I’ve always disliked the ritual of Payroll Friday because that’s what it is. The BLS doesn’t even measure the change in payrolls, for crying out loud. The government attempts to define a very wide interval into which the real labor market may have fallen. Even then it’s nothing like precision, especially at a low 90% confidence interval.And don’t get me started on adjusting them for population, which no one does (+200k in 2019 was nowhere near what +200k had suggested in 1999 or 1984).These...

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Revolving Claims Labor Market Destruction

Jobless claims are not a BLS statistic, which is one key reason why we might not expect perfect consistency with the major payroll reports at times. Times like these, in particular. Instead, the numbers for unemployment insurance applications and payments are tracked by the US Employment and Training Administration (both agencies fall within the Department of Labor). And if the numbers keep up this way, there’ll be so much less of the former so as to overwhelm any contributions made...

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