From the April 2010 employment situation release: Nonfarm payroll employment trends strongly upward; previous months’ figures are revised upward; not seasonally adjusted figures move upward as well; the upward movement is not driven by government employment; the experimental household based quasi-payroll employment series moves upward even more strongly; and aggregate hours is now 1% higher than the level at 2009M06.
From the BLS summary:
Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 290,000 in April, the unemployment rate edged up to 9.9 percent, and the labor force increased sharply. Job gains occurred in manufacturing, professional and business services, health care, and leisure and hospitality. Federal government employment also rose, reflecting continued hiring of temporary workers for Census 2010.
Actual was 290K, versus Bloomberg consensus of 200K .
Here are five supporting graphs:
Figure 1: Nonfarm payroll employment from April 2010 release (green bold), March release (red) and January release (blue), all in ‘000s, seasonally adjusted. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray, assuming last recession ends 2009M06. Source: BLS various releases, via FRED II, and NBER.
Figure 2: Nonfarm payroll employment, April 2010 release, seasonally adjusted (blue), and not seasonally adjusted (red) all in ‘000s. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray, assuming last recession ends 2009M06. Source: BLS April 2010 release, via FRED II, and NBER.
If you thought this upsurge was driven by government employment, you’d be wrong.
Figure 3: Log nonfarm payroll employment, relative to 2009M06 (blue), and log private nonfarm payroll employment (red), both seasonally adjusted. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray, assuming last recession ends 2009M06. Source: BLS April 2010 release, via FRED II, NBER, and author’s calculations.
Nonfarm payroll employment has increased by 143K per month so far this year, and private sector nonfarm payroll employment by 121K. The former figure exceeds the Administration February forecasts for monthly employment gains throughout 2010.
If you mistrusted the establishment series, then your pessimism would find no succor in the household series adjusted to conform to the nonfarm payroll employment concept.
Figure 4: Nonfarm payroll employment (blue), and civilian employment “adjusted” to conform to payroll concept (red), all in ‘000s, and seasonally adjusted. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray, assuming last recession ends 2009Q2. Source: BLS April 2010 release via FRED II, BLS and NBER.
What about hours? Aggregate hours worked in the private sector have now risen above levels at the GDP trough at 2009M06, and about 1.5% 2% (log terms) above own-series-trough.
Figure 5: Log nonfarm private payroll employment (blue), and log private aggregate weekly hours (red), both seasonally adjusted, and relative to 2009M06. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray, assuming last recession ends 2009M06. Source: BLS April 2010 release, via FRED II, NBER and author’s calculations.
Other measures of economic activity are moving up, as Jim Hamilton has pointed out. Here are some high frequency measures of GDP.
Figure 6: Real GDP, advance release for ’10Q1, in billions of Ch.2005$ SAAR (blue bars), e-forecasting release of 7 May 2010 (red line), and Macroeconomic Advisers release of 14 April (green line). NBER defined recession dates shaded gray, assuming recession ends in 2009M06. Source: BEA, e-forecasting, Macroeconomic Advisers and NBER.
More from WSJ RTE here
Interesting aside: I get dueling emails from the two sides of the US Joint Economic Committee. From Chair Maloney:
Washington D.C. — Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Chair of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April jobs report showing that the unemployment rate increased to 9.9% and 290,000 total nonfarm jobs were added:
“The job growth in April builds on progress from last month and is the strongest job creation we’ve seen since March 2006. In the past two months, the economy has added more than a half million jobs, with more than 400,000 of those in the private sector. The April jobs report provides more evidence that the actions taken by Democrats in Congress are working and the economy is recovering.
However, the increase in the unemployment rate makes clear that we will need stronger economic growth in the months ahead to regain the 8.4 million jobs lost during the recession and to put all unemployed Americans back to work. The unemployment increase is due to new entrants and re-entrants to the labor force, a sign of increased optimism about job prospects. The labor force increased by 805,000 in April. Since reaching a low in December, the labor force participation rate has increased in each of the last four months.
While we have made significant progress in the past 15 months, Congress must take additional actions to boost employment, including expanding lending to small businesses and strengthening job training for workers. We need to keep our eye on the ball, which is jobs, jobs, jobs.”
From lead House Republican Brady:
Washington, DC — In a very mixed Employment Report, the unemployment rate rose to 9.9% in April and long-term unemployment rose to an all-time record high of 6.72 million Americans. Nearly 46% of jobless Americans have been out of work for more than half a year now even as U.S. economy added 290,000 jobs in April with the help of 66,000 temporary Census jobs.
“A painfully slow job recovery is better than no recovery, but for the nearly 15 million Americans out of work who are waiting for Washington Democrats to finally focus on jobs, this report has got to be disheartening,” said U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the lead House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee. “At this slow pace it will take much of the decade to return to normal employment levels.”