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April Unemployment Report: UPDATE!!

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 3, 2009 7:26 AM |

UnemploymentBefore this morning’s numbers were released, I published:

The widely anticipated April Unemployment Report will be released at 8:30 am EST. Concerns over this report have increased over the last two days given a report from ADP on Wednesday which forecast an increasing rate of decline in employment. Additionally, Weekly Jobless Claims increased yesterday.

Over and above the actual report, the Bureau of Labor has consistently revised prior months’ numbers worse than initially reported. Aside from the headline print, a thorough analysis needs to focus on these revisions. I will report back shortly after 8:30pm with the actual numbers!!

Last month’s numbers and expectations for this report are as follows:
**note: I have now included the actual numbers which were reported at 8:30 a.m.:

Unemployment Rate
    March 8.1%
    expected 8.5%
    April Report 8.5%

The UnderEmployment Rate is 15.6% as reported by Bloomberg! This rate incorporates unemployed (not working, but looking for work), underemployed (working part-time, but would prefer full-time), and unemployed, having given up looking for work. These last two groups are not included in the reported 8.5% unemployment rate.

Non-farm Payroll
   March Report 651k
   April expected 658k
   April Report 663K
   January Revision from 655k to 741k

Avg Hourly Earnings
   March Report +.2%
   April expected +.2%
   April Report +.2 

Avg Hourly Workweek 
   March Report 33.3 hours
   April expected 33.3 hours
   April Report 33.2 hours

Analysts hit the numbers, as they came in as expected. Wow! Are the analysts that good or are these numbers being “managed” or “massaged” so as not to overly upset the markets?  Well, we did have a significant revision to January’s report. Let’s dig deeper!!    

Call me paranoid, but when a January Non-Farm Payroll number is revised from a loss of 655k jobs to 741k and no revision is provided for February, I immediately ask why. 

The fact that the average hourly workweek actually declined by .1 from 33.3 hours to 33.2 hours is very meaningful. With job losses increasing, and the remaining workers actually working fewer hours, this is an indication of declining flow of orders.

No improvement in average hourly earnings, so no expectation of improvement in consumer spending.

Market reaction: bonds slightly lower. Stocks initially popped higher but are now selling off slightly. 

The WSJ reports: Recession Job Losses Top 5 Million

Aside from these numbers, in regard to the G-20, the big winner seems to be the International Monetary Fund. It is reported that the IMF will receive $1 trillion to allocate to emerging economies and developing countries. It was not widely reported that some of those funds had already been committed to the IMF, so it is not “new” money. The old double counting trick!!


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