Employment Data: Moving in the Right Direction.. Barely

BLS Report

Both the number of unemployed persons (10.5 million) and the unemployment rate (6.7 percent)
changed little in February. The jobless rate has shown little movement since December. Over the year,
the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate were down by 1.6 million and 1.0
percentage point, respectively.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 203,000 in
February to 3.8 million; these individuals accounted for 37.0 percent of the unemployed. The number of
long-term unemployed was down by 901,000 over the year.

[T]here were 755,000 discouraged workers in February, down by 130,000 from a year earlier.

In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 9 cents to
$24.31. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 52 cents, or 2.2 percent.

My opinion: Over the year, all major indexes from the BLS moved in the right direction. That being said, we seem to be stalling over the past few months. Whether or not this is weather related I still believe the Fed should postpone another taper subsequent the next FOMC meeting. Referring back to a previous post of mine about exchange rates; I feel the US could use a nudge from the Fed early this year to get the train moving again without risk of inflationary pressure. And by nudge I mean a halt to the taper, along with some ‘forward guidance’ about “continuing the halt until [insert date or condition]”.

We aren’t going backwards yet, but getting the momentum moving up again is important. The next FOMC meeting is March 18-19. Halt the taper and hopefully get some booming March data (assuming pent up weather demand) and watch 2014 coast to greatness.


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