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You Still Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere

Buy me a flute. And a gun that shoots
Tailgates and substitutes. Strap yourself
To the tree with roots. You ain’t goin’ nowhere

(HT: Bob Dylan)

Last month came and last month went. The BLS has issued another jobs report and it looks painfully familiar to what took place the month before. I referenced the old Bob Dylan song “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” as a metaphor for the US economy based upon data from the ADP National Employment Report for April. We now have the data for May. The Bureau of Labor Statistics release follows below.

Total nonfarm payroll employment changed little in May (+69,000), following a similar change in April (+77,000). In comparison, the average monthly gain was 226,000 in the first quarter of the year.

I find it curious that they don’t mention the 42,000 downward revision of the original April release. Nor do they see fit to mention that April had an original expectation of 170,000 new jobs. This represents a miss of -30% (119K/170K) followed by an adjustment of -35% (77K/119K). All told, the April number is now down to 45% (77K/170K) of what the market originally expected back in late April. As Lord Vader once advised “Pray we don’t alter it any further.”

We now have numbers for May to compare against initial projections. Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider offers a comparison. Wall Street called for 150K in May. We got only 69K. The first part of my chain would be (69K/150K) = -54%. If BLS goes back in June and again quietly readjusts this report down by (7/6) as large a percentage, we would be left with 37% of 69K or an adjusted May figure of 26K jobs added.

So in honor of Mr. Dylan’s recent Medal of Freedom, we again use his musical genius to describe the US economy.

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