Thursday, December 03, 2015

Preview: Employment Report for November

by Bill McBride on 12/03/2015 02:11:00 PM

On Friday at 8:30 AM ET, the BLS will release the employment report for November. The consensus, according to Bloomberg, is for an increase of 190,000 non-farm payroll jobs in November (with a range of estimates between 160,000 to 219,000), and for the unemployment rate to be unchanged at 5.0%.

The BLS reported 271,000 jobs added in October.

Here is a summary of recent data:

• The ADP employment report showed an increase of 217,000 private sector payroll jobs in November. This was above expectations of 183,000 private sector payroll jobs added. The ADP report hasn't been very useful in predicting the BLS report for any one month, but in general, this suggests employment growth above expectations.

• The ISM manufacturing employment index increased in November to 51.3%. A historical correlation between the ISM manufacturing employment index and the BLS employment report for manufacturing, suggests that private sector BLS manufacturing payroll jobs decreased about 10,000 in November. The ADP report indicated a 6,000 increase for manufacturing jobs.

The ISM non-manufacturing employment index decreased in November to 55.0%. A historical correlation  between the ISM non-manufacturing employment index and the BLS employment report for non-manufacturing, suggests that private sector BLS non-manufacturing payroll jobs increased about 205,000 in September.

Combined, the ISM indexes suggests employment gains of 195,000.  This suggests employment growth close to expectations.

Initial weekly unemployment claims averaged close to 270,000 in November, up from 260,000 in October. For the BLS reference week (includes the 12th of the month), initial claims were at 272,000, up from 259,000 during the reference week in October.

The increase during the reference suggests a slightly higher level of layoffs in November - but still very low.

• The final November University of Michigan consumer sentiment index increased to 91.3 from the October reading of 90.0. Sentiment is frequently coincident with changes in the labor market, but there are other factors too - like gasoline prices.

• Trim Tabs reported that the U.S. economy added 168,000 jobs in November, down from their estimate of 178,000 jobs in October. Note: "TrimTabs’ employment estimates are based on analysis of daily income tax deposits to the U.S. Treasury from the paychecks of the 142 million U.S. workers subject to withholding."

• Conclusion: Unfortunately none of the indicators above is very good at predicting the initial BLS employment report.  Based on these indicators, it appears job gains should be around 200 thousand in November.