Tuesday, July 10, 2007

How Good IS Non-Farm Payroll Growth?

The skeptic at The Big Picture says that it's not as good as the Wall Street Journal would have you think.

He quotes Bill King:

And once again, The Street and their fin media stooges bray about how bullish 132,000 NFP jobs are (CSFB’s chief economist called the report ‘excellent.’) even though just a few years ago Street Conventional Wisdom held that the economy must generate about 175,000 jobs each month just to absorb demographic growth.

Lehman’s economist said, “The labor market is one of the stronger parts of the economy right now.” This is a Clintonesque, qualified statement.

BigPic also mentions the +12,000 jobs in residential construction in the June report. Well, maybe that IS the case, but with warnings from Pulte and others during the 2Q, it doesn't make a lot of sense.

There's nothing new in economic-number-manipulation. (For that matter, there's nothing new in Doomsday Scenarios.) But if you're making large-scale economic decisions, the advice to "look both ways before crossing the street" ain't all bad.

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