February 9, 2023

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Weak jobs a result of seasonal-adjustment problems?

1 min read

The pandemic wreaked havoc on seasonal-adjustment models

Some talk about seasonal adjustment issues in the non-farm payrolls report is doing the rounds. If you look at the unadjusted numbers, there were 1,089,000 million jobs created, which is very close to consensus. The unemployment rate also fell to 5.7%.

The pandemic wreaked havoc on seasonal-adjustment models

The pandemic has made seasonal adjustments very difficult so I would expect to see more talk about this.

Looking deeper, there’s a typical +1m rise in non-seasonally April employment so the BLS likely uses that as its benchmark. It’s probably the usual seasonal hiring but it’s tougher to say how that trend would have been skewed somehow by the pandemic:

April jobs

At some point, you have to say ‘it’s just one month’ but that doesn’t make for a very good trade.

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