Regular readers may recall that I’m not a big fan of this Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation data series, as it is unusually noisy and subject to further revisions and modeling adjustments. (See Ignore Today’s — and Most — Jobs Reports). As we discussed not too long ago, the Employment Situation report is “the single most over-hyped, over-analyzed, over-emphasized, least-understood economic release known to mankind.” It is also one of the “least useful economic data points” at least as far as investors are concerned.
Friday’s disappointing report for January looks to have an inordinate number of asterisks:
Was December’s poor report a one-off?
Has stormy weather in the Midwest and Northeast hurt hiring?
What is the net result of the end of federal unemployment benefits?
Are private-sector job gains still outpacing government hiring?
Is slowing real estate a drag on other sectors?