Hiring holds firm, and consumers continue to spend. Here are the five things we learned from U.S. economic data released during the week ending December 2.
Another solid month of job creation in November. Nonfarm payrolls grew by a seasonally adjusted 263,000, nearly matching the 269,000 and 284,000 jobs added in September and October, respectively. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that private-sector employers added 221,000 workers, split by 184,000 in the service sector and 37,000 in the goods-producing side of the economy. Industries adding the most workers were leisure/hospitality (+88,000), health care/social assistance (+68,100), and government (+42,000). Retailers dropped 29,900 workers from their payrolls. Average weekly earnings have risen 3.9 percent over the past year to $1,129.01.
A separate household survey kept the unemployment rate at 3.7 percent. 186,000 people left the labor force in November, with the labor force participation rate slipping 1/10th of a percentage point to 62.1 percent. The typical length of unemployment was 8.4 weeks (up 3/10th of a week from October). The number of part-time workers seeking a full-time opportunity held steady at 3.685 million. The broadest measure of labor underutilization—the U-6 series—declined back to its pandemic low of 6.7 percent.
Consumer spending grew, and inflation moderated in October. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that real Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) grew at a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent pace, up from 0.3 percent in September. Goods spending rose 1.1 percent, split for durable and nondurables by +2.7 percent and +0.3 percent, respectively. Services expenditures inched up 0.2 percent. Without inflation adjustments, nominal PCE jumped 0.8 percent, funded by 0.7 percent gains for both nominal personal income and nominal disposable income. Real disposable income increased 0.4 percent. The savings rate shrank to a pandemic low of +2.3 percent. Real PCE has risen 1.8 percent over the past year as real disposable income fell 3.0 percent. Looking at inflation, the PCE price index increased 0.3 percent in October and was 6.0 percent above year-ago levels. Netting out energy and food, the core PCE index grew 0.2 percent during the month and 5.0 percent over the past year. Both measures remained well above the Federal Reserve’s two percent inflation target.
Q3 economic growth was a bit more robust than previously thought. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) swelled at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 2.9 percent. The Bureau of Economic Analysis previously reported that GDP had grown 2.6 percent in Q3. The upward revision resulted from higher than previously believed levels of consumer spending and fixed nonresidential investment. Positively contributing to Q3 GDP growth (in declining order) were exports (adding 172 basis points to GDP), imports (+121 basis points), personal consumption expenditures (adding 118 basis points), fixed nonresidential investment (+66 basis points), and government expenditures (+53 basis points). Dragging down GDP were residential fixed investment (removing 140 basis points from GDP) and private inventory accumulation (-0.97).
There were slightly fewer available jobs in October. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there were a seasonally adjusted 10.334 million open jobs, down 353,000 from September and 760,000 from a year earlier. The private sector had 9.412 million open jobs. Industries with more than a million open positions were professional/business services, leisure/hospitality, and trade/transportation/utilities. Hiring slowed by 84,000 to 6.012 million jobs. In October 2021, hiring totaled 6.460 million. Separately essentially held steady at 5.683 million (October 2021: 5.852 million). Inching up were layoffs (1.329 million, up 58,000 from September 2022 and 45,000 from October 2021), while voluntary quits slipped by 34,000 to 4.026 million (October 2021: 4.132 million).
Manufacturing contracted in November. The Institute for Supply Management’s PMI shed 1.2 points to a reading of 49.0. The PMI had not been below a reading of 50.0—signifying a shrinking manufacturing sector—since May 2020. Measures capturing new orders, production, employment, and inventories all declined. Only six industries expanded during the month, led by apparel, nonmetallic mineral products, and primary metals. The press release noted that “[o]rder backlogs, prices and now lead times are declining rapidly.”
Other U.S. economic data released over the past week:
- Jobless Claims (Week ending November 26, 2022, First-Time Claims, seasonally adjusted): 225,000, -16,000 vs. the previous week, -15,000 vs. the same week a year earlier). 4-week moving average: 228,750 (-11.0% vs. the same week a year earlier).
- Conference Board Consumer Confidence (November 2022, Index (1985=100), seasonally adjusted): 100.2 (vs. October 2022: 102.2; vs. November 2021: 111.9.
- Construction Spending (October 2022, Construction Put in Place, seasonally adjusted annualized rate): $1.785 trillion (+0.3% vs. September 2022; +9.2% vs. October 2021).
- Pending Home Sales (October 2022, Index (2001=100), seasonally adjusted): 77.1 (-4.6% vs. September 2022; -37.0% vs. October 2021).
- FHFA House Price Index (September 2022, Purchase-Only Index, seasonally adjusted): +0.1% vs. August 2022; +11.0% vs. September 2021.
- S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index (September 2022, National Index, seasonally adjusted): -0.8% vs. August 2022; +10.6% vs. September 2021.
- Agricultural Prices (October 2022, Prices Received by Farmers, not seasonally adjusted): -2.7% vs. September 2022; +19.6% vs. October 2021).
- Beige Book
The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of Kevin’s current employer. No endorsements are implied.