Employment – (Non Farm Payrolls and Unemployment Rate) United States

One of the most widely anticipated reports on the US economic calendar, the Employment Situation is a timely report that gives a picture of job creation, loss, wages and working hours in the United States. Data in the report relies on the Household Survey and the Establishment (or Payroll) Survey. While the Household Survey is based on the interviews to US households, the Establishment Survey queries business establishments, making it the preferred source of data. The Employment Situation’s has many significant figures such as: Change in Non Farm Payrolls, Unemployment, Manufacturing Payrolls, and Average Hourly Earnings.

The headline figures for this report are reported monthly, as the total number of new jobs in thousands (say, 120K new jobs), and the unemployment rate.

Change in Non-farm Payrolls

Monthly change in employment excluding the farming sector. Non-farm payrolls is the most closely watched indicator in the Employment Situation, considered the most comprehensive measure of job creation in the US. Such a distinction makes the NFP figure highly significant, given the importance of labor to the US economy. Specifically, political pressures come into play, as the Fed is responsible for keeping employment in a healthy range and utilizes interest rate changes to do so. A surge in new Non-farm Payrolls suggests rising employment and potential inflation pressures, which the Fed often counters with rate increases. On the other hand, a consistent decline in Non-farm Employment suggests a slowing economy, which makes a decline in rates more likely.

Unemployment Rate

The percentage of people registered as unemployed in the United States. The figure is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed individuals in the labor force by the total labor force. Where the headline figure Change in Non-Farm Payrolls generally moves the market upon release, the Unemployment Rate serves as the most popular snap-shot figure for current labor conditions in the US.

The unemployment figure can give insight into the economy’s production, consumption, earnings, and consumer sentiment. A lower unemployment rate equates to increased expenditure, as more people have jobs and wages to spend. Increased expenditure encourages economic growth, which can spark inflation pressures. Conversely, high levels of unemployment signal economic instability and weakened demand.

Persons are considered unemployed if they are able and willing to work but without a job and have actively sought employment within the last four weeks. The labor force includes all employed and unemployed individuals 16 years and older.

Manufacturing Payrolls

Measures job creation or loss in manufacturing sector. Manufacturing Payroll is reported as the net change in jobs from the previous month’s figure. The figure is significant as an indicator of the health of the manufacturing sector. A high Manufacturing Payrolls number can signal increased demand for manufactured goods and a subsequent increase in production.

Average Hourly Earnings

An indicator of how the average level of pay is changing. The Average Hourly Earnings figure provides insight into future spending and inflation. A High Average Hourly Earnings bodes well for future consumption, as workers have more disposable income. High figures may indicate inflationary pressures due to employee’s additional potential to spend. The figure is either measured in hourly or weekly averages or as a percent change from the previous month.

Relevance: Tends to move markets on release
Release schedule: 8:30 (EST); monthly, usually first Friday of every month
Revisions schedule: previous two months, can be major, benchmark changes every 10 years
Source of report: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor (U.S.)
Web Address: http://www.bea.gov/
Address of release:http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.toc.htm, View Release Schedule

AKA: Change in Non farm payrolls, New Job Creation, Payroll Data, Employment Rate, Unemployment Rate

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