[channelling Henry V]: Its that time again kiddies, as we look at the monthly payroll data this morning.
From an investing standpoint, any one single monthly NFP is more or less irrelevant. As we are so fond of saying, its the overall trend — are jobs being created at a pace that increases potential revenue or profits? — that is significant, not any one month’s number.
However, this NFP IS much more significant from a political standpoint. Following the trouncing of the President at the debates by Mitt Romney, there could be consequences for an outlier report to each candidate. Note that while the ADP report was an upside surprise, it hardly correlates with the initial BLS Employment Situation report.
Bloomberg’s survey of economists –I know, that is a failing statement right there — expects unemployment to increase to 8.2% (from 8.1%) while Payrolls are estimated to have climbed by 115,000 workers. The average for 2012 has been 139,000 per month, barely keeping up with population growth.
As we have seen, for the better part of 2 years, the fundamentals have not been exactly the primary driver of equities or bonds. The possibility of a recession sometime before 2014 has increased; Europe is slowing; Asia is soft, the US is cruising along just above stall speed. With earnings at a peak (and potentially contracting), every data point seems to have an increased significance. Whether its the Recency Effect or something else, that seems to be the general gestalt surrounding this report.
I am not suggesting that NFP is wholly irrelevant — its just that we place way too much emphasis on each one, rather than the overall trend of employment. At least CNBC’s countdown to NFP is only measured in seconds, and not 100ths of a second.
UPDATE: September jobs 114k; August jobs revised higher by 46k jobs to +181k (was +141k); July +142k ( was +96K); Unemployment rate moves from 8.1% to 7.8%.
The impact will be more political than investing — future move up modestly — but watch the “Romney rally” stocks I linked to last night for weakness possible weakness . . .
Employment situation report released at 8:30am
This post was originally published at The Big Picture and is reproduced here with permission.