Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
Nonfarm payrolls disappointed expectations (+150,000), rising just 39,000 in November. While revisions to the previous two months added 38,000 in sum, just 6,000 of that gain was from private payrolls. Over the past three months, nonfarm payrolls are averaging a gain of 62,000 a month, which isn't much of an improvement compared to its 12-month average of 70,000. The trend in private payrolls is faring a little better, averaging 107,000 over the past three months compared to its average monthly gain over the past 12 months of 91,000. Goods-producing payrolls slipped 15,000, largely on a 13,000 decrease in manufacturing payrolls, which, when compared with its December 2009 level, are up only 114,000. The service sector added 65,000 in November, but that was off its pace of 135,000 over the previous three months. Accounting for some of the drop-off in service-sector payrolls was a 28,100 decline in retail trade employment (its largest monthly decline since October 2009). Given the time of year (and the relative size of the decrease), it’s possible that the seasonal adjustment factors may be taking a little too much off the top. Still, even if employment in the retail trade was flat, it doesn't make up for the total miss in payrolls relative to expectations. The bright spots on the establishment side continue to be health care and temporary help services, up 19,200 and 39,500, respectively, in November. Temporary help services have now added nearly a half million to payrolls since September 2009, while health care employment is up roughly 300,000 over that time period. On the household side, the unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 9.8 percent in November, as the number of unemployed persons rose 273,000. Moreover, the employment-to-population ratio, which had been as high as 58.8 percent in recent months, ticked down 0.1 percentage point to 58.2 percent, back down to its current cyclical low (matching its level from last December).