For wonky asset managers (yours truly) the first Friday of the month is “Jobs Friday”. The anticipation for this morning’s report was huge since this is the most meaningful statistic (after Personal Consumption Expenditures – PCE) that Janet Yellen and the Fed will get before they reconsider their interest rate stance. If Yellen follows the bond markets lead, she stay on hold for the foreseeable future.
No need to meet this month Janet. Instead of 200,000 jobs the report came in at 142,000 new jobs. Worker participation declined to match the 1977 low. The work week shrank and wages were flat. We are tempted to cheer that part-time positions jumped 53,000. This gain unfortunately came at the expense of full-time positions which declined 185,000 in the month.
The household version of the survey which includes self-employed workers and business owner actually showed a 236,000 job DECLINE in September. Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw has an excellent description of the survey differences here.
The pundits who called for further positive revisions to previous reports are having humble pie for breakfast too. Last months jobs stinker was met by a chorus of cheerleaders who promised that, “August is usually revised higher!” Instead of an upward revision, August job gains were indeed revised-lower. The BLS cut 37,000 more jobs from the initial report of 173,000.
We expect the jobs report in November to get worse after the long list of announced layoffs are fully reflected. Stock futures are responding with red arrows in equities and green arrows on bonds. Please revisit your stock allocation in your 401K accounts. Stay tuned.