Business Cycle Indicators, September 4th

With today’s employment situation release, here’s a picture of five indicators tracked by the NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee (BCDC):

Figure 1: Nonfarm payroll employment (dark blue), industrial production (red), personal income excluding transfers in Ch.2012$ (green), manufacturing and trade sales in Ch.2012$ (black), and monthly GDP in Ch.2012$ (pink), all log normalized to 2019M02=0. Source: BLS, Federal Reserve, BEA, via FRED, Macroeconomic Advisers (9/1 release), NBER, and author’s calculations.

The employment number is virtually indistinguishable from the Bloomberg consensus shown in my September 1st post on indicators (1371 vs 1400 thousands). Hence, on the establishment survey, there was no surprise – as opposed to the unemployment rate that came from the household survey.




10 thoughts on “Business Cycle Indicators, September 4th

  1. The Rage

    The U3 was a political disaster for the BLS. You don’t get that needs number without seriously massaging data.

    1. macroducl

      Nah. Not really a good target for manipulation. Too much complexity. Too many checks on the data. Too many people involved.

  2. macroduck

    As a share of pre-recession employment, the number of unemployed in the August report is still substantially higher than at the worst point of the Great Recession. The White House is asking to restart talks with Pelosi on an economic package, as was inevitable. The drag on the economy from loss of income remains massive.

    If the ban on evictions sticks, that should help maintain employment. Having a fixed address is important to finding a job, and (I suspect to a lesser extent) to keeping one.

    1. The Rage

      There is little reason to restart talks. PPP/PUA needs to go in October 1st. The BLS is using that badly.

      1. not_really

        I know I’m baiting the troll, I’m assuming “needs to go” means not renewed.

        How are the unemployed, a majority of whom have no financial cushion, going to survive? Or, is the point to punish the working poor for, wait for it, being poor.

        I eagerly await your thoughtful analysis.

  3. 2slugbaits

    The headline numbers sounded pretty good. A closer look at the numbers is still good, but not quite “pretty good.” An increase in government employment led the charge; however, out of the 344K increase in government employment, 238K reflected temporary Census workers. Still, an overall uptick in employment of 1.1M isn’t too shabby. But…the weak growth for women in the labor force is worrisome. The number of men in the labor force increased by 782K, but the number of women in the labor force only increased by 186K. That’s lopsided. Also, the provisional employment numbers for June and July were revised downward by 10K and 29K, respectively.

    1. pgl

      “An increase in government employment led the charge; however, out of the 344K increase in government employment, 238K reflected temporary Census workers.”

      I forget who the right wing “economist” was but there was one of this crew talking about how it was all private sector jobs. I guess he forgot to check the details.

  4. pgl

    “The State of Michigan said that it would not agree to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine absent adequate data from the federal government, joining a growing list of states that would refuse to dole out a vaccine if they believe it was approved on a political schedule.”

    Don’t you feel sorry for Bruce Hall? He does not get to try some untested unproven vaccine before the completion of phase III trials. What’s the point of wearing his MAGA hat if he can’t?

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