Editor's Note: The following was posted in real time on our premium Buzz & Banter (click for a free trial).
My watch level for tomorrow's jobs report is 139,817,000. That's the "must have" household employment number for May. I focus on the "household" versus the headline non-farm "establishment" number because the bullish economists have told me it's the true leading indicator for jobs. So, yes, recent weekly unemployment claims numbers have been stuck on the high side. Likewise, the ADP private employment gains have been tepid -- including today's 55,000 print. And, heaven forfend, even if the here-today-gone-tomorrow 417,000 Census worker gain for May (already published by the Census Bureau) turns out to account for the lion's share of a 500,000+ establishment number tomorrow, don't be troubled!
The real good news is in the household survey because it allegedly picks up the "hiring spree" now underway in the small business sector. For several months now, the bullish talking heads have pounced on the household employment number within seconds of the monthly release, and have noted that the gain has averaged 400,000 per month since December -- a trend which would continue in May if my target is hit.
Now for the full disclosure. My bovine friends were deathly silent about the "household" survey number during the entire second half of 2009, choosing to focus on the "less bad" trend of the "establishment" numbers, instead. For good reason. From July through December, the household survey clocked a 400,000 monthly decline -- for a total of 2.0 million job losses over the last five months of 2009. Stated differently, if we hit my May target the household survey job count will have roared ahead... all the way back to July 2009!
To be sure, we're told over and over again that jobs are a lagging indicator. So maybe the 2 million jobs lost amidst the burgeoning green shoots of last year's second half were the necessary prelude to this year's V-shaped rebound. Then again, it's just possible that the unprecedented 8 million jobs collapse of the last two years has played havoc with the BLS's seasonal adjustments, and that we've actually gone nowhere on the jobs front since last summer. When the bulls stop talking about the "household" survey we'll know the answer.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.
Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.