Friday, September 3, 2010

Gap Up to S&P 1100 Locked and Loaded as Employment Picture Weakens Less than Expected

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I won't go into too many of the particulars because this is such a convoluted report but private sector payrolls in August gained 67,000 versus expectations of around 40,000.  (the broader number is skewed by losses in census workers so not worth mentioning)   This is higher than ADP's -10K but of course ADP does not have the benefit of "creating" tens of thousands of birth death model jobs.  (Edit: Birth death model added 115,000 jobs as per our government's guess work, small businesses across America continue a hiring binge *cough* that has been nearly unabated during the entire recession.  In a related note, I have bridges for sale in Florida.)

To put the 67,000 in perspective, July's figure was 107,000 so it's a degradation month over month but again - all that matters is expectations.

The best positive of the report was hourly wages which jumped 0.3% versus 0.2% the previous month.

Average workweek was flat versus prior month.

Temporary worker growth seems to be slowing, only 17,000 - this has generally been 50-60K for much of the past year and supposedly a "leading indicator" of recovery.  (my argument has been that the U.S workforce dynamic is changing and temporary employment is increasingly replacing full time).

The unemployment rate increased to 9.6% as part of the millions who have dropped out of the workforce returned (half a million) seeking work.  Recall that the unemployment rate would be multiples higher if the U.S. workforce had remained steady the past 2 years; instead millions have 'disappeared' keeping the unemployment rate below where it would otherwise be.

This also helped drive up "U-6" to 16.7% v 16.5% ... U-6 being unemployed, marginally attached, those working part time but wishing full time, etc.

S&P 1100 has been a big pivot point so now the next knee jerk reaction comes at 10 AM when ISM Services will (I assume) drive us over that level ... then we're only 30 points away from the recent high.   So our entire trading range of 90 S&P points will have been traversed in 3 sessions if all goes well (66% of the range has been accomplished in 2 premarket and 2 sessions) ;)  We are repeating the pattern of much of 2009 and early 2010 where the majority of gains are premarket - of the 55 S&P points gained since Tuesday evening, more than half have come in premarket.

And that's our wild, wacky bipolar market which has no memory from day to day.

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