Today’s jobs report was supposed to be the “most important in years.” But if I’ve learned anything from watching and reading so many years of monthly-jobs-report commentaries, it’s not to get too worked about any one month of these things. Three-month averages, perhaps.
Nonetheless, it was good to see the economy meet and slightly exceed expectations, as this morning’s numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed an increase in 175,000 jobs. The expectation was for about 165,000-170,000. The unemployment rate was up but just slightly, to 7.6 percent. Last month’s numbers were revised downward slightly.
The upshot of all this is that the jobs news is not off-the-charts wonderful, but pretty good.
That has been the story throughout this week, if you had to look at all the data coming out and draw conclusions. The ADP report this week was a bit underwhelming. So was Gallup’s data that “fewer people worked full-time for an employer this May compared with a year ago.” But, other recent reports are mildly optimistic:
- This — Zynga notwithstanding — generally isn’t a big time of year for cutting jobs, and John Challenger’s data shows that job-cut announcements are indeed down.
- SimplyHired is showing less competition for each job — from about three people per opening to about two.
- Dice is showing a slight uptick in bullishness among hiring managers. Dice says counteroffers are rising a bit, and “42 percent of hiring managers and recruiters note that candidates are asking for more money; this compares to just 36 percent of respondents who answered the same way in late 2012.”
- SHRM’s data, which looks forward, not just backward, shows June being slow in manufacturing, but strong in services, compared to a year ago.