Saturday, March 16, 2024

Jobs Report: New Ones Drifting Away from Other Outcomes; AJSN Shows Latent Demand 100,000 Lower at 17.0 Million

I clicked on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary with February’s data, knowing only that it showed another flashy nonfarm payroll employment result, 275,000 net new positions on estimates of 175,000 and 200,000.  Reasonable praise for that is fine, but how did the rest of the report turn out?

Seasonally adjusted unemployment gained a substantial 0.2%, with the unadjusted version up 0.1%, to 3.9% and 4.2% respectively.  The adjusted count of jobless soared 400,000 to 6.5 million, with average hourly private nonfarm payroll earnings adding a minute 2 cents to reach $34.57.  Other results stayed even or were varying amounts of better.  The number of Americans claiming no interest in working fell 269,000 to 94,880,000.  Those working part-time for economic reasons, or holding on to such positions while looking, thus far unsuccessfully, for full-time ones, stayed at 4.4 million.  The labor force participation rate remained 62.5% but the employment-population ratio improved 0.1%, down to 60.1%.  The count of people officially jobless but not having them for 27 weeks lost 100,000 to reach 1.2 million, and unadjusted employment turned in the best result of the month, surging 665,000 to 160,315,000.

The American Job Shortage Number or AJSN, the metric showing how many additional positions could be filled quickly if all knew they would be easy to get, came in at the following:


The share of the AJSN from people officially unemployed gained 1.2% on rising joblessness to 36.8%. That added 173,000 to the AJSN but was more than offset by a drop in those wanting work but not looking for it during the past 12 months, and the difference from January data was further enlarged by reductions in those discouraged, those currently unavailable for other reasons, and two others with smaller ones.  Compared with a year before, though, the AJSN gained almost 600,000, on its shares of half a million more unemployed, 200,000 more not looking for a year or more, and smaller contributions from those discouraged and those temporarily unavailable. 

Some improvements, some worsenings, some break-evens.  I was glad to see the count of people working getting better along with the almost monthly large jobs gain, which it hasn’t always, and the reduction in those claiming no interest.  But with that 3.9% we aren’t burning any barns.  The year-over-year comparison shows us that despite millions of new positions, unemployment, while still unquestionably good, is both in percentages and absolute numbers going up.  It’s not enough to add positions if more are on benefits.  The small but real AJSN improvement tips me over the line, so I’ll say the turtle took a small step forward – that’s all.

No comments:

Post a Comment