If you walked into most trading floors late last week the most discussed topic would have been Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report. And the numbers reported were good. But the most remarkable numbers were buried in the back. One could be excused for thinking that the BLS would use the back of the report to tuck away retractions and mistakes. But this was something different entirely, buried in the back are adjustments to previous jobs reports; the 2014 adjustments showed that last year was not just good, 2014 was remarkable.
Find the jobs report here: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm
The November numbers alone were revised up by almost ¼ to a total number of 423,000 added. The total number of added jobs for 2014 currently stands at 3.1 million accounting for the best numbers since 1999. The jobs number is a notoriously trend adverse. Seasonal jobs, farm numbers, and multiple other exclusions are normally made to make sense out of a naturally chaotic statistic. These numbers are different, the numbers coming out of the BLS have been consistently strong. Even Chicago numbers have started to catch-up with national averages.
With an unemployment rate at 5.7, jobs numbers being as strong as they have been for more than a decade, consistently positive market returns for each of the last six years and generally improving real estate markets, what are we worried about? Most of the concern seems to be centered around payrolls. The payroll number which among other things is used to look at wage “growth,” has been stagnate for the past half decade. Additionally the wage numbers are 3 to 4% below their 2008 highs.
Stagnant payroll numbers alone would not be all that concerning. Our economy is coming out of one the worst recessions in history. Our total employment picture was decimated and a multi-year recovery was required for any sense of normalcy to return. But stagnate employment numbers, a rising discomfort with wage gaps, a declining European economy and some serious issues with Asian GDP numbers are converging rain on the parade.
Story by: Adam Faust, Founder at Deep Blue Financial