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December Employment Preview


On Friday at 8:30 AM ET, the BLS will release the employment report for December. The consensus is for 200,000 jobs added, and for the unemployment rate to be unchanged at 3.7%.

There were 263,000 jobs added in November, and the unemployment rate was at 3.7%.

Click on graph for larger image.

• First, as of November there were 1.044 million more jobs than in February 2020 (the month before the pandemic).

This graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms.  As of August 2022, the total number of jobs had returned.

This doesn’t include the preliminary benchmark revision that showed there were 462 thousand more jobs than originally reported in March 2022.

• ADP Report: The ADP employment report showed 235,000 private sector jobs were added in December.  This is the fifth release of ADP’s new methodology, and this suggests job gains above consensus expectations.

• ISM Surveys: Note that the ISM indexes are diffusion indexes based on the number of firms hiring (not the number of hires).  The ISM® manufacturing employment index increased in December to 51.4%, up from 48.4% last month.   This would suggest the number of manufacturing jobs was mostly unchanged in December.

The ISM® services employment index for December has not been released yet.

• Unemployment Claims: The weekly claims report showed a decrease in the number of initial unemployment claims during the reference week (includes the 12th of the month) from 223,000 in November to 216,000 in December. This would usually suggest fewer layoffs in December than in November. In general, weekly claims were close to expectations in December.

•  COVID: As far as the pandemic, the number of weekly cases during the reference week in December was around 458,000, up sharply from 281,000 in November.  
• Conclusion: The consensus is for job growth to slow to 200,000 jobs added in November.  The ADP report was above expectations, and ISM manufacturing and weekly claims were slightly positive.  My guess is the report will be above consensus.

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