Salmon: Those Noisy Payrolls Figures
NEW YORK (Reuters Blogs) -- The chart of the day comes from Betsey Stevenson, and helps to show just how noisy the payrolls data really are. The big headline figures of the day, 113,000 is ostensibly the increase that we saw, in January, in the number of people on American payrolls. It's a disappointing number, while a print of say 200,000 would have been decidedly encouraging.
But just look at how we got to that 113,000 figure. We took January's workforce, of 135,396,000 people, and then subtracted December's workforce, of 138,266,000 people -- for a total decrease of 2,870,000 jobs. But we know that the number of jobs in America always decreases in January -- even when the economy is surging. It's cold out, making outdoor jobs very difficult to do, and the Christmas seasonal jobs are all in the past. So the BLS institutes some seasonal adjustments. In this case, it subtracted 880,000 jobs from the December number, and it added 2,103,000 jobs to the January figure.
All of which means that the 113,000 headline figure is, in fact, 135,396,000 + 2,103,000 - 138,266,000 - 880,000.
You want to trade on that being 70,000 jobs lower than you thought it would be?
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