Thursday, October 24, 2013

Record Number of Labor Force Dropouts (excerpt)

Over the past three months through September, payroll employment is up only 143,300 per month, on average. That’s the weakest pace since August 2012. The household employment survey shows average gains of just 81,600 over the latest three-month period. On the other hand, our Earned Income Proxy, which is highly correlated with wages and salaries in the private sector, rose 0.2% last month to a new record high, following a gain of 0.7% during August.

While the recent weakness in the US labor market may be worrisome to economists, investors are bulled up by the prospect that the Fed won’t rush to taper QE. Fed officials have been dismayed that all of the drop in the unemployment rate from 10% during November 2009 to 7.2% last month can be attributed to the drop in the labor force participation rate, as I noted yesterday. The number of people who are “not in the labor force” rose by 136,000 during September to a record 90.6 million.

Today's Morning Briefing: Slim Pickings. (1) Let’s stay rational. (2) The worry list is short. (3) Employment disappoints as labor force dropouts hit record high. (4) China’s known unknown will soon be known. (5) China’s old normal way of growing. (6) Too many bulls? (7) Greenspan is bullish. (8) S&P 500 earnings edging lower, but remain bullish. (More for subscribers.)

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