First, the numbers:
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 171,000 in October. Employment growth
has averaged 157,000 per month thus far in 2012, about the same as the average monthly
gain of 153,000 in 2011. In October, employment rose in professional and business
services, health care, and retail trade.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised from +142,000 to
+192,000, and the change for September was revised from +114,000 to +148,000.
A few thoughts:
* Republicans will be apoplectic over this solid report. They will look at the massive 90k birth/death adjustment and howl at the f***ing moon across cable television tonight.
* This does augur well for Obama, especially if the game is really down to “undecided” voters. Because even if the unemployment rate did tick up from 7.8 to 7.9%, it’s still a sub-8% number – the new benchmark for the New Normal. And O! Imagine the mighty massaging efforts that went into that effort.
* Some interesting sub-stats – healthcare hiring remains unstoppable, which feeds into our bullish thesis on the secular bull market happening there. The same could be said for construction hiring vis a vis the rebuilding and remodeling trend. Also, it appears that much of the drag on employment continues to be state, local and Federal – as it should be.
* I’ve heard it remarked that this data is entirely inconsistent with the portents of doom we’ve heard out of the Fortune 500 this quarter. The malaise being discussed by chieftains at Wynn Resorts and Caterpillar is being directly contradicted by the headline number and the internals of this month’s report.
Overall, this is a good, not great, report. I think the net effect is it gives Obama another few days worth of talking points as we head into D-Day, but it probably doesn’t mean much for the actual economy. It will not improve business confidence or snowball into any kind of benevolent momentum beyond tomorrow’s newspapers.