The latest JOLTS report (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary), with data through November, is now available. The time frame is quite limited compared to the main BLS data series in the monthly employment report, many of which go back to 1948, and the enormously popular Nonfarm Employment (PAYEMS) series goes back to 1939, while the BLS began tracking JOLTS in December 2000. Nevertheless, there are some clear JOLTS correlations with the most recent business cycle trends.
Following a disappointing jobs report for December, the latest update of the Labor Market Conditions Index reflects the decline. The LMCI is a relatively recent indicator developed by Federal Reserve economists to assess changes in the labor market conditions. The latest 0.7). The cumulative index (discussed below) peaked twelve months ago in December 2015.
What are the long-term trends for multiple jobholders in the US? The Bureau of Labor Statistics has two decades of historical data to enlighten us on that topic, courtesy of Table A-16 in the monthly Current Population Survey. At present, multiple jobholders account for just over five percent of civilian employment. The survey captures data for four subcategories of the multi-job workforce, the current relative sizes of which we've illustrated in a pie chart.
Let's take a close look at Friday's employment report numbers on Full and Part-Time Employment. Buried near the bottom of Table A-9 of the government's Employment Situation Summary are the numbers for Full- and Part-Time Workers, with 35-or-more hours as the arbitrary divide between the two categories. The source is the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) of households. The focus is on total hours worked regardless of whether the hours are from a single or multiple jobs.
What does the ratio of unemployment claims tell us about where we are in the business cycle and our current recession risk? At present, the ratio for Continued Claims has been trending down. Excluding the 1981 recession, the Initial Claims trough lead time for a recession has ranged from 7 to 22 months with an average of 12 months if we include the 1981 recession and 14 months if we exclude it. Admittedly, the last recession is an extreme example, but the Initial Claims trough preceded its December 2007 onset by a whopping 22 months.
The U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, also known as the FT-900, is published monthly by the Bureau of Economic Analysis with data going back to 1992. The monthly reports include revisions that go back several months. This report details U.S. exports and imports of goods and services.
The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) has now released the December Non-Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), also known as the ISM Services PMI. The headline Composite Index is at 57.2 percent, unchanged from last month. Today's number came in above the Investing.com forecast of 56.6 percent.
The final December US Services Purchasing Managers' Index conducted by Markit came in at 53.9 percent, down 0.7 percent from the final November estimate. The Investing.com consensus was for 53.4 percent. Markit's Services PMI is a diffusion index: A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector; below 50 indicates contraction.
With the GDP Q3 Third Estimate, we now have an updated look at the popular "Buffett Indicator" -- the ratio of corporate equities to GDP. The current reading is 121.2%, down from 124.9% the previous quarter. It is off its 129.7% interim high in Q1 of 2105.
For the past few years, we've been following a couple of transportation metrics: Vehicle Miles Traveled and Gasoline Volume Sales. For both series, we focus on the population adjusted data. Let's now do something similar with the Light Vehicle Sales report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This data series stretches back to January 1976. Since that first data point, the Civilian Noninstitutional Population Age 16 and Over (i.e., driving age not in the military or an inmate) has risen about 65%.