Contact us
CALL US NOW 1-888-GOLD-160
(1-888-465-3160)

Multiple Factors Turn a Weak Employment Report Strong

  by    0   0

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 256k jobs were added in April with major revisions down in previous months. Meanwhile, the Household Survey reported only 139k jobs in April, the lowest amount since November last year.

Figure: 1 Primary Report vs Household Survey – Monthly

Despite the smaller figure in April, the Household Survey is actually exceeding the Headline Report by the largest margin ever YTD. As of April, total jobs as reported by the Household Survey is 57% greater than the Headline Report. The next largest year was in 2018, when the Household Survey was greater by 27.5%.

The BLS also publishes the data behind their Birth/Death assumptions. These are the jobs that the BLS assumes based on companies starting or closing. While the data is not seasonally adjusted, it directly impacts the Headline Report. The chart below shows the impact of Birth/Death jobs on the total raw number for the last several months.

April had Birth/Deaths responsible for 42.4% of total jobs. This is the highest relative figure going back to July 2020 when Birth/Deaths represented -95%% of total jobs, mostly reversing a negative number. Ironically, it was also July 2020 when the economy was in a deep recession and most likely not opening new businesses. The current environment is probably similar. With businesses cutting back on spending and financial conditions tightening rapidly, it seems unlikely the economy is seeing a surge in new business fueling a booming job market.

Figure: 3 Primary Unadjusted Report With Birth Death Assumptions – Monthly

YTD the economy has lost 388k jobs, but the Birth/Death assumptions have created 381k jobs. Essentially the Birth/Death model has negated all the job losses for the year so far.

Figure: 4 Primary Unadjusted Report With Birth Death Assumptions – Annual

Digging Into the Report

The 253k jobs reported surprised to the upside and brought the unemployment rate down to 3.4%.

Figure: 5 Change by sector

One component driving the report higher was an increase in the number of people who have two full-time jobs. This increased by 30k in April, responsible for more than 10% of the new jobs added.

Figure: 6 Multiple Full-Time Employees

Another data point to consider is the adjustment made to the raw numbers. April is typically a strong month that gets revised down by the BLS seasonal adjustments. Interestingly, this year saw the smallest downward adjustment for any April going back to at least 2010. This means that the BLS model adjustments further helped pad the April figure.

Figure: 7 YoY Adjusted vs Non-Adjusted

Breaking Down the Adjusted Numbers

Despite the unexpectedly strong report, 6 of the 8 employment categories are below the 12-month trend. Only Professional Businesses and Other saw gains that are greater than the historical trend.

Figure: 8 Current vs TTM

The table below shows a detailed breakdown of the numbers.

Key takeaways:

    • Every category was positive for the month
    • 8 of the 10 private sector categories were greater than the 3-month trend
    • All levels of government fell below the 3-month trend this month

Another surprise is the increase in tech workers, despite thousands of layoffs by the tech sector at large. Somehow the government is still able to find jobs created within the information category.

Figure: 9 Labor Market Detail

Revisions

The biggest red flag of this report is the prior month’s revisions. From January to March, the total jobs were overestimated by 179k jobs. Considering most reports are in the 200k range, the revisions down over the last three months basically negated an entire average month of hiring. How can the BLS be getting the data so wrong?

Figure: 10 Revisions

Historical Perspective

The chart below shows data going back to 1955. As shown, the economy is currently “enjoying” its lowest unemployment rate on record. This is quite hard to believe given the current economic environment and job losses that have been announced and implemented.

Figure: 11 Historical Labor Market

The labor force participation rate has reached a post-pandemic high of 62.6% but sits below the 63.3% in Feb 2020 and well below the 66% from before the Financial Crisis.

Figure: 12 Labor Market Distribution

Wrapping Up

The BLS continues to issue job reports that defy reality and expectations. In fact, this jobs report broke a record as having been the 13th consecutive job report where the market underestimated the numbers. Typically, market expectations alternate between above and below the report, but for 13 months in a row, market expectations have been below the official report.

Furthermore, the banking sector is clearly still under strain and more companies continue to announce layoffs. This jobs report does not jive with the broader economic picture.

Four factors turned this mediocre report into a good report:

    • The Birth/Death assumptions were very large in favor of new jobs
    • The Number of people working two full-time jobs increased by 29k
    • The seasonal adjustment down was very small for April historically
    • The historical revisions dropped almost 180k jobs out of the last 3 reports

These four factors suggest the BLS numbers are not accurately reflecting the labor market and things are much weaker than they appear. The Fed is pointing to the job numbers for full justification of their tight monetary policy. Perhaps if the data were more accurate, they would feel less confident about the labor market and economy. It might also wake them up to the fact they have already driven the economy over a cliff.

Since the Fed wants to keep its head in the sand, it will plow away until more things break. At that point, the pivot will be much harder than anyone anticipates. That is also the point at which precious metals will blast off. Given how close gold is to new all-time highs, there are certainly people who see this coming.

Data Source: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/PAYEMS and also series CIVPART

Data Updated: Monthly on first Friday of the month

Last Updated: Apr 2023

Interactive charts and graphs can always be found on the Exploring Finance dashboard: https://exploringfinance.shinyapps.io/USDebt/

Download SchiffGold's 401k IRA Rollover Free Report

Get Peter Schiff’s key gold headlines in your inbox every week – click here – for a free subscription to his exclusive weekly email updates.
Interested in learning how to buy gold and buy silver?
Call 1-888-GOLD-160 and speak with a Precious Metals Specialist today!

Related Posts

Money Supply Growth is Flattening Out

Money Supply is a very important indicator. It helps show how tight or loose current monetary conditions are regardless of what the Fed is doing with interest rates. Even if the Fed is tight, if Money Supply is increasing, it has an inflationary effect.

READ MORE →

Comex Data Continues to Show a Market Under Stress

The Comex report for last month correctly identified a potential big move in silver while the same report two months ago preceded a massive up move for the price of gold. The data this month is not as obvious or compelling, but it is clear the stress on the Comex continues to build.

READ MORE →

Six of Eight Fed Inflation Categories are Above the 12-month Trend

This analysis takes the BLS inflation data and recalculates the percentage changes at the category level to get unrounded numbers. The total number ties to the BLS, but it gives more detail at the granular level.

READ MORE →

Jobs: Household Report is Way Below a Weak Headline Number

The analysis below covers the Employment picture released on the first Friday of every month. While most of the attention goes to the headline number, it can be helpful to look at the details, revisions, and other reports to get a better gauge of what is really going on.

READ MORE →

The Technicals: Something Else is Driving Gold

This analysis attempts to look at different metrics to understand the current momentum in the gold and silver markets. It is meant as an analysis of potential price direction in the very short term (1-2 weeks).

READ MORE →

Comments are closed.

Call Now