Friday, October 05, 2007

Quick thought on the employment report 

Any number of people -- including Captain Ed, Ironman, -- are suggesting this jobs report is really good news, not only for adding 110,000 jobs in September but also for revising up the July and August numbers. Yes it did, but the revision is quite interesting. The initially reported total private employment number was 115,883 thousand in August and 115,859 in July; the new numbers are 115,888 and 115,856. Yes, certainly there are larger revisions in the industry subcategories but these are largely going to be offsetting, which is the nature of estimating numbers from surveys. More sample, less variability.

Barry Ritholz notes that those earlier data had aberrant data for public education employment; for August, the number was revised from7.961 million to 8.050 million, accounting for nearly all of the gain. Since we kind of knew that old number was off, this gain doesn't tell me anything new. So you're left only with the September gain as really news, and what do we find? Goods sector down across the board (construction, manufacturing and mining)

As I noted in a comment on Ed's post, in St. Cloud the expansion had largely been two-legged: housing and health. Now we hop along on one leg plus a mild expansion in local manufacturing, which is not confirmed in these national data. (See our latest quarterly business report for more.)

Steve Conover says don't get too excited. I'm not, and neither should you be.