Free Markets, Free People

Economic Statistics for 3 May 13

Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:

The BLS reports that 165,000 net new jobs were created in April. The unemployment rate declined 0.1% to 7.5%. Average hourly earnings rose by 0.2%, but the average workweek declined to 34.4 hours. Overall, another lackluster report, but the internals of the Household survey are little better than they have been. 210,000 people entered the labor force, and 293,000 more people were employed than last month. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate remained unchanged at a historically low 63.3%, while the employment-population ratio rose a single tick to 58.6. Even using the historical labor force participation rate, the real rate of unemployment declined slightly to 11.54% in April from 11.65% in March. Overall, a weak report, but with some small signs of improvement from last month.

Factory orders declined by -4.0% in March, showing weakness in all categories. Moreover, February’s orders were revised downwards to 1.9% from 3.0%.

The ISM Non-Mfg Index fell 1.3 points to 53.1 in April.

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Dale Franks
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2 Responses to Economic Statistics for 3 May 13

  • n April the shorter work week was equivalent to 500,000 jobs lost.
    Market Watch reported:

    The April employment report exceeded expectations, with 165,000 jobs created and a welcome drop in the unemployment rate to 7.5%.
    But there was a dark side to the report: Total hours worked fell sharply, and the total amount of money earned by U.S. workers actually declined from the month before.
    “Aggregate weekly hours” is an obscure series of data in the jobs report, but it’s vital to understanding how strong the economy is performing. As the name implies, it measures the total number of hours worked, which is what matters for sizing up overall growth in the economy.
    Usually, we focus just on the number of new jobs created and the unemployment rate, but the number of hours we work matters just as much, if not more, to our economic well-being…
    In April, companies hired 165,000 more workers, but they cut everyone’s hours (on average) by 12 minutes. That doesn’t sound like much of a decline, but spread out over the 135 million-strong work force, the decline in hours worked is the equivalent of firing more than 500,000 workers while keeping hours steady.