Anticipating Friday's Employment Report

April 3rd, 2013

by Doug Short

The most important economic news this week is Friday's employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This monthly report contains a wealth of data for economists, probably the most significant in the near term being the month-over-month change in Total Nonfarm Employment (the PAYEMS series in the FRED repository).

Today we have the March estimates from ADP (158,000 new jobs) and TrimTabs (156,000 new jobs). This is a much closer comparison than usual between these two sources.

Here is a visualization of the three series over the past twelve months, ending with the ADP and TrimTabs estimates for March.

A key difference among the three is that the ADP and the BLS series are subject to substantial revision. Here, for example is an illustration of the ADP revisions since January of last year.

What's particularly striking in today's closely matched ADP and TrimTabs estimates is that the TrimTabs number rarely aligns with the unrevised ADP data. The estimate for Friday's jobs number is 192K. has a slightly higher 200K. A number in the mid-150K range would definitely be a disappointment.

For a sense of the critical importance of nonfarm employment for the economy, see my Big Four Economic Indicators, which I'll be updating on Friday after the BLS employment report on March data is published.

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