January’s consumer and producer prices & industrial production, December’s retail sales & JOLTS, & November’s business inventories

This week saw the release of seven regular monthly agency reports, with 5 of them released as they were originally scheduled and two released a month late, delayed by the government shutdown…the on time reports included the January Consumer Price Index, the January Producer Price Index and the January Import-Export Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the January report on Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization from the Fed, and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report for December, also from the BLS…meanwhile, the reports on Retail Sales for December and Business Sales and Inventories for November from the Census Bureau, which had originally been scheduled for release on January 16th, were released on Thursday of this past week….at the same time, the reports on Retail Sales for January and Business Sales and Inventories for December, which would have normally been released this week, were postponed, with no rescheduled date yet published as of this writing..

This week also saw the release of the first regional Fed manufacturing surveys for February: the Empire State Manufacturing Survey from the New York Fed, which covers all of New York state, one county in Connecticut, northern New Jersey, and Puerto Rico, reported their headline general business conditions index rose to +8.8, up from +3.9 in January, suggesting a return to fairly steady growth in First District manufacturing….

Retail Sales Fell 1.2% in December after Prior Months Were Revised Lower

Seasonally adjusted retail sales decreased in December after retail sales for October and November were revised lower…the Advance Retail Sales Report for December (pdf) from the Census Bureau estimated that our seasonally adjusted retail and food services sales totaled $505.8 billion during the month, which was down 1.2 percent (±0.5%)* from November’s revised sales of $512.2 billion, but was 2.3 percent (±1.4 percent) above the adjusted sales in December of last year…November’s seasonally adjusted sales were revised down 0.3%, from $513.5 billion to $512.2 billion, while October’s sales were revised 0.2% lower, from $512.4 billion to $511.6 billion; as a result, the October to November change was revised up from an increase of 0.2 percent (±0.5%) to an increase of 0.1 percent (±0.2%), and the year over year increase for the 4th quarter came in at 3.7%…..estimated unadjusted sales, extrapolated from surveys of a small sampling of retailers, indicated actual sales rose 8.6%, from $524,525 million in November to $569,523 million in December, while they were up 1.4% from the $561,418 million of sales in December a year ago, so we can see how the large seasonal adjustment to holiday sales brought the headline sales increase down from the big holiday sales increase that one would normally expect in December…

Since it’s the end of the quarter and the end of the year for retail sales, we’ll include the entire table from this report showing retail sales by business type, including the quarter over quarter data…again, to explain what this table shows, the first double column below shows us the seasonally adjusted percentage change in sales for each kind of business from the November revised figure to this month’s December “advance” figure in the first sub-column, and then the year over year percentage sales change since last December in the 2nd column; the second double column pair below gives us the revision of the November advance estimates (now called “preliminary”) as of this report, with the new October to November percentage change under “Oct 2018 r” (revised) and the November 2017 to November 2018 percentage change as revised in the 2nd column of that pair (for your reference, the table of from advance estimate of November sales, before this month’s revisions, is here)…. then, the third pair of columns shows the percentage change of the most recent 3 months of this year’s sales (October, November and December) from the preceding three months of the 3rd quarter (July, August and September) and then from the same three months (October, November and December) of a year earlier….that first column of the last pair thus gives us a snapshot comparison of 3rd quarter sales to fourth quarter sales, which is useful in estimating the impact of this report on 4th quarter GDP, after adjusting those sales for inflation….

December 2018 retail sales table

To compute December’s real personal consumption of goods data for national accounts from this December retail sales report, the BEA will use the corresponding price changes from the December consumer price index, which we reviewed when it was released a month ago…to estimate what they will find, we’ll first separate out the volatile sales of gasoline from the other totals…from the third line on this table, we can see that December retail sales excluding the 5.1% price-related decrease in sales at gas station were down by 0.9%….then, pulling the 0.5% increase in grocery sales and the 0.7% decrease in food services sales out from that total, we find that core retail sales were down 1.0% for the month…since the CPI report showed that the composite price index for all goods less food and energy goods was unchanged in December, we can thus figure that real retail sales excluding food and energy will also be down by roughly 1.0%…however, the actual adjustment for each of the types of sales shown above will vary by the change in the related price index…for instance, while nominal sales at motor vehicle & parts dealers were up 1.1%, the December price index for for transportation commodities other than fuel was down 0.2%, which would mean that real unit sales at auto & parts dealers were probably on the order of 1.3% higher… on the other hand, while sales at clothing stores were 0.7% lower in December, the apparel price index was 1.1% higher, which means that real sales of clothing probably fell around 1.8%.…

In addition to figuring those core retail sales, we should adjust food and energy retail sales for their price changes separately…the CPI report showed that the food price index was 0.3% higher in December, with the index for food purchased for use at home 0.2% higher, while prices for food bought to eat away from home were 0.4% higher… thus, while nominal sales at food and beverage stores were 0.4% lower, real sales of food and beverages were roughly 0.6% lower in light of the 0.2% higher prices…meanwhile, the 0.7% decrease in nominal sales at bars and restaurants, once adjusted for 0.4% higher prices, suggests that real sales at bars and restaurants fell about 1.1% during the month…on the other hand, while sales at gas stations were down 5.1%, there was a 5.8% decrease in the retail price of gasoline, which would suggest that real sales of gasoline were up on the order of 0.7%, with a caveat that gasoline stations do sell more than gasoline… averaging real sales computed thusly together, we’d estimate that the income and outlays report for December will show that real personal consumption of goods fell by 0.9% in December, after rising by a revised 0.1% in November and 0.6% in October…at the same time, the 1.1% drop in real sales at bars and restaurants would reduce December’s real personal consumption of services by more than 0.1%…all in all, this surprisingly negative report should reduce previous estimates of 4th quarter GDP growth by between 0.7 and 0.8 percentage points..

January Consumer Prices Unchanged as Higher Fuel and Rents Offset Lower Energy

The consumer price index was unchanged in January, as higher prices food, clothing and shelter were offset by lower prices for energy….the Consumer Price Index Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the seasonally adjusted price index for urban consumers was unchanged in January after it had been unchanged in November and in December, had risen 0.3% in October, 0.1% in September, 0.1% in August, and 0.2% in July…the unadjusted CPI-U index, which was set with prices of the 1982 to 1984 period equal to 100, rose from 251.233 in December to 251.712 in January, which still left it statistically 1.551% higher than the 247.867 index reading in January of last year, which is reported as a 1.6% year over year increase….with lower gasoline prices the primary reason for the drop in the overall index, seasonally adjusted core prices, which exclude food and energy, rose by 0.2% for the month, as the unadjusted core price index rose from 259.083 to 260.122, which left the core index 2.154% ahead of its year ago reading of 254.638, which is reported as a 2.2% year over year increase, the same as was reported for November and December…

The volatile seasonally adjusted energy price index fell by 3.1% in January, after falling 2.6% in December, 2.8% in November, rising by 2.1% in October, and falling by 1.0% in September, and thus is now 4.8% lower than in January a year ago…the price index for energy commodities was 5.3% lower in January, while the index for energy services fell by 0.5%, after rising by 1.5% in December…the energy commodity index was down 5.3% due to a 5.5% decrease in price of gasoline, the largest component, and an 1.3% decrease in the index for fuel oils, while prices for other energy commodities, such as propane, kerosene, and firewood, averaged 1.9% lower…within energy services, the index for utility gas service fell 0.3% after rising by 5.1% in December and is still 4.3% higher than it was a year ago, while the electricity price index was 0.6% lower, after it had risen 0.4% in December….energy commodities are now 9.7% lower than their year ago levels, with gasoline prices averaging 10.1% lower than they were a year ago, while the energy services price index is still 1.3% higher than last January, as electricity prices have also increased by 0.4% over that period…

The seasonally adjusted food price index was 0.2% higher in January, after rising 0.3 in December, 0.2% in November, being unchanged in October, rising 0.1% in September, 0.1% in August, and 0.1% in July, as the price index for food purchased for use at home rose 0.1% in January, while the index for food bought to eat away from home was 0.3% higher, as prices at fast food outlets rose 0.6% and prices at full service restaurants rose 0.2%, while food prices at employee sites and schools averaged 0.2% lower…

In the food at home categories, the price index for cereals and bakery products was 0.4% lower as average bread prices fell 0.3%, breakfast cereal prices fell 1.1%, and the price index cakes, cupcakes and cookies fell 1.4%….on the other hand, the price index for the meats, poultry, fish, and eggs group was 0.6% higher, as the beef and veal index rose 1.4%, the pork index rose 0.7%, and egg prices averaged 0.9% higher…at the same time, the seasonally adjusted index for dairy products was 0.3% lower, even though unadjusted milk prices rose 1.1%, as cheese prices fell 0.7% and ice cream prices fell 0.4%…the fruits and vegetables index was also 0.3% lower on a 1.6% decrease in the price index for canned fruits and a 1.7% decrease in the price index for fresh vegetables, which included a 7.1% cut in prices for lettuce….at the same time, the beverages index was 0.8% higher, as carbonated drink prices rose 2.1% and noncarbonated juices and drinks prices rose 1.3%…lastly, the index for the ‘other foods at home’ category was 0.1% higher, as the index for sugar and sweets rose 1.3% while peanut butter prices fell 2.5%….the itemized list for price changes in over 100 separate food items is included at the beginning of Table 2 for this release, which also gives us a line item breakdown for prices of more than 200 CPI items overall…since last December, just lettuce, which is still priced 10.1% higher than a year ago, is the only ‘food at home’ line item that has seen prices change by more than 10% over the past year…

Among the seasonally adjusted core components of the CPI, which rose by 0.2% for the fifth month in a row after rising by 0.1% in August 0.2% in July, 0.2% in June, 0.2% in May, 0.1% in April, 0.2% in March, 0.2% in February, and by 0.3% last January, the composite price index of all goods less food and energy goods was 0.4% higher, while the more heavily weighted composite for all services less energy services was 0.2% higher….among the goods components, which will be used by the Bureau of Economic Analysis to adjust January retail sales for inflation in national accounts data, the index for household furnishings and supplies increased by 0.4%, as the price index for appliances rose 1.4% while the price index for window and floor coverings was 3.8% higher…at the same time, the apparel price index was 1.1% higher on a 4.5% increase in the index for boy’s and girls footwear, a 3.1% increase in the index for boy’s apparel and a 4.2% increase in the index for women’s outerwear…at the same time, the price index for transportation commodities other than fuel was 0.2% higher, as prices for new cars and trucks rose 0.2% and the index for motor vehicle parts and equipment other than tires rose 0.7%…in addition, prices for medical care commodities were 0.1% higher as prescription drugs prices were unchanged while the price index for medical equipment and supplies rose 0.7%….meanwhile, the recreational commodities index rose 0.3% on a 3.2% increase in the index for audio equipment and a 1.4% increase in the index for photographic equipment and supplies equipment… on the other hand, the education and communication commodities index was 0.8% lower on a 1.7% decrease in the index for computer software and accessories, a 1.3% decrease in the index for telephone hardware, calculators, and other consumer information items, and a 1.3% decrease in prices for college textbooks…lastly, a separate price index for alcoholic beverages was unchanged, while the price index for ‘other goods’ rose 0.4% on a 1.0% increase in the price index for miscellaneous personal goods…

Within core services, the price index for shelter rose 0.3% on a 0.3% increase in rents, a 0.3% increase in homeowner’s equivalent rent, and a 0.5% increase in lodging away from home at hotels and motels, while the shelter sub-index for water, sewers and trash collection fell 0.5%, and other household operation costs were on average 0.3% higher….the price index for medical care services was also up by 0.3%, as both doctor’s and dentists services rose 0.4% and health insurance rose 1.7%…on the other hand, the transportation services index was down by 0.2% as car and truck rentals fell 2.0% and airline fares fell 0.9%…at the same time, the recreation services price index was 0.3% higher as the index for video discs and other media including rentals rose 3.8% and the price index for pet services including veterinary rose 0.5%….meanwhile, the index for education and communication services was 0.2% higher as college tuitions rose 0.4% and postage rose 1.7%….lastly, the index for other personal services was down 0.1% as the price index for legal services fell 1.1%…among core line items, prices for televisions, which are still 16.8% cheaper than a year ago, the price index for telephone hardware, calculators, and other consumer information items, which is down by 14.5% since last January, and the price index for infant’s equipment, which is down by 10.4% from a year ago, have all seen prices drop by more than 10% over the past year, while the price index for boys’ apparel, which has now increased 11.3% year over year, and the price index for newspapers and magazines, which is up 10.5% since last December, have both seen prices rise by a double digit magnitude over that span…

Industrial Production Drops 0.6% in January after Prior Months Revised Higher

The Fed’s G17 release on Industrial production and Capacity Utilization indicated that industrial production fell by 0.6% in January after rising by a revised 0.1% in December, which left it 3.8% higher than a year ago…the industrial production index, with the benchmark now set for average 2012 production to equal to 100.0, fell to 109.4 in January from 110.1 in December, after the December index was revised from 109.9 to 110.1, the November index was revised from the 109.6 reported last month to 110.0, the October index was revised from 109.1 to 109.3, and the September index was revised from 108.9 to 109.0….as a result of this month’s revisions, industrial production grew 0.2% in September, rather than the 0.1% previously reported, grew 0.3% in October, revised from 0.2%, and grew 0.6% in November, revised from the 0.4% previously reported, while industrial production grew 0.1% in December rather than the 0.3% growth that was previously reported…

The manufacturing index, which accounts for around 77% of the total IP index, fell 0.9% in January, from 106.1 to 105.2, after the December index was revised from 106.2 to 106.1, the November index was revised from 105.0 to 105.3, and the September index was revised from 105.1 to 105.2, while the October index remained at 105.0…the January decrease in manufacturing was primarily due to a 13.6% drop in motor vehicle assemblies, from an annual rate of 12.27 million in December to an annual rate of 10.60 in January; factory output excluding motor vehicles and parts was down 0.2 percent…meanwhile, the mining index, which includes oil and gas well drilling, rose from 131.2 in December to 131.3 in January after the December index was revised up from 130.5, which left the mining index 15.3% higher than it was a year earlier…finally, the utility index, which often fluctuates due to above or below normal temperatures, rose 0.4% in January, from 102.4 to 102.8, after the December utility index was revised from 102.0 to 102.4 and the November utility index was revised from 108.9 to 109.9…with January 2018’s heating requirements quite a bit higher than those of this year, the utility index is now 5.6% lower than it was a year ago…

This report also includes capacity utilization data, which is expressed as the percentage of our plant and equipment that was in use during the month, and which indicated that seasonally adjusted capacity utilization for total industry fell to 78.2% in January from 78.8% in December, which was revised from the 78.7% that was reported last month …capacity utilization of NAICS durable goods production facilities fell from an upwardly revised 77.6 in December to 76.1% in January, while capacity utilization for non-durables producers rose from an unrevised 77.2% to 77.1%…capacity utilization for the mining sector fell to 94.8% in January from 95.3% in December, which was originally reported as 94.8%, while utilities were operating at 75.4% of capacity during January, up from their 75.2% of capacity during December, which was previously reported at 75.0%…for more details on capacity utilization by type of manufacturer, see Table 7: Capacity Utilization: Manufacturing, Mining, and Utilities, which shows the historical capacity utilization figures for a dozen types of durable goods manufacturers, 8 classifications of non-durable manufacturers, mining, utilities, and capacity utilization for a handful of other special categories….

Producer Prices Down 0.1% in January on Lower Food and Energy Prices

The seasonally adjusted Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand fell 0.1% in January, as prices for finished wholesale goods were on average 0.8% lower, while margins of final services providers increased by 0.3%…that followed a revised December report that also had the PPI down 0.1%, with prices for finished wholesale goods down 0.3% while margins of final services providers were unchanged, a November report that indicated the PPI was 0.1% higher, with prices for finished wholesale goods falling 0.5% while margins of final services providers increased 0.3%, a revised October report that indicated the PPI was 0.5% higher, with prices for finished wholesale goods rising 0.5% and margins of final services providers rising 0.6%, and a revised September report that indicated the PPI was 0.1% higher, with prices for finished wholesale goods 0.1% lower and margins of final services providers 0.1% higher….on an unadjusted basis, producer prices are 2.0% higher than a year ago, down from the 2.5% year over year increase that had been indicated by last month’s report…meanwhile, the core producer price index, which excludes food, energy and trade services, was up 0.2% for the month, and is now 2.5% higher than in January a year ago…

As noted, the price index for final demand for goods, aka ‘finished goods’, was 0.8% lower in December, after being 0.3% lower in December, 0.5% lower in November, 0.5% higher in October, and 0.1% lower in September….the goods index fell because the price index for wholesale energy was 3.8% lower, after falling 4.3% in December and 5.1% in November, while the price index for wholesale foods fell 1.7% after rising 2.6% in December, and the index for final demand for core wholesale goods (excluding food and energy) was up 0.3%….wholesale energy prices fell on a 7.3% decrease in the wholesale price for gasoline, a 9.9% decrease in wholesale prices for heat oil, and a 13.7% drop in the wholesale price of diesel fuel …the wholesale food price index, meanwhile, included a 22.1% decrease in wholesale prices for fresh fruits and melons and an 25.3% decrease in wholesale prices for fresh and dry vegetables….among wholesale core goods, wholesale prices for construction machinery and equipment rose 1.7% while wholesale prices for household appliances rose 3.2%..

At the same time, the index for final demand for services rose 0.3%, after being unchanged in December, rising 0.3% in November, 0.6% in October, and a revised 0.2% in September, as the January index for final demand for trade services rose 0.8% and the index for final demand for transportation and warehousing services rose 0.5%, while the core index for final demand for services less trade, transportation, and warehousing services was unchanged….among trade services, seasonally adjusted margins for apparel, jewelry, footwear and accessories retailers rose 6.3% and margins for TV, video, and photographic equipment and supplies retailers rose 14.8%, while margins for fuel and lubricant retailers fell 7.0%… among transportation and warehousing services, margins for airline passenger services rose 1.1% and margins for truck transportation of freight rose 0.3%…among the components of the core final demand for services index, margins for arrangement of vehicle rentals and lodging rose 6.0% while margins for portfolio management services fell 5.2%..

This report also showed the price index for intermediate processed goods fell 1.4% in January, after falling 0.9% in December and 0.6% in November, after rising a revised 0.5% in October and 0.1% in September….the price index for intermediate energy goods fell 6.5%, as refinery prices for gasoline fell 7.3% and refinery prices for diesel fuel fell 13.7%, while producer prices for natural gas sold to electric utilities fell 20.0%…on the other hand, prices for intermediate processed foods and feeds rose 0.5%, as the price index for processed poultry rose 6.9% and producer prices for dairy products rose 1.7%…meanwhile, the core price index for intermediate processed goods less food and energy was 0.3% lower on a 4.6% decrease in the index for basic organic chemicals and a 4.4% decrease in the price index for plastic resins and materials…prices for intermediate processed goods are still 0.9% higher than in December a year ago, now the 26th consecutive year over year increase, after 16 months of negative year over year comparisons, as intermediate goods prices fell every month from July 2015 through March 2016….

Meanwhile, the price index for intermediate unprocessed goods fell 9.3 in January, after rising 11.1% in December, falling 5.3% in November, rising 3.5% in October and a revised 0.9% in September….that was as the January price index for crude energy goods fell 19.0% on a 32.3% drop in raw natural gas prices, while crude oil prices fell 6.1%…at the same time, the price index for unprocessed foodstuffs and feedstuffs fell 0.5%, as producer prices for corn fell 3.2% and producer prices for alfalfa hay fell 7.1%…at the same time, the index for core raw materials other than food and energy materials fell 1.9%, as prices for scrap iron and steel fell 6.6% and waste paper prices fell 6.1%…this raw materials index is now 3.1% lower than a year ago, a reversal of the 9.1% year over year decrease that we saw in the December report, and only the second negative year over year reading in the index since October 2016…

Lastly, the price index for services for intermediate demand rose 0.2% in January, after rising 0.1% in December, 0.2% in November, a revised 0.5% in October and a revised 0.3% in September…the price index for intermediate trade services was 0.7% higher, as margins for machinery and equipment parts and supplies wholesalers rose 2.2% and margins for chemicals and allied products wholesalers rose 3.3%…the index for transportation and warehousing services for intermediate demand rose 0.2%, as the intermediate index for transportation of passengers rose 1.1% and the index for warehousing and storage services rose 0.7%…meanwhile, the core price index for intermediate services less trade, transportation, and warehousing was 0.1% higher, as the index for business loans (partial) rose 2.9% and radio advertising time sales rose 3.3%….over the 12 months ended in January, the year over year price index for services for intermediate demand, which has never turned negative on an annual basis, is still 2.9% higher than it was a year ago…

November Business Sales Down 0.3% Business Inventories Down 0.1%

After the release of the December retail sales report, the Census Bureau released the composite Manufacturing and Trade, Inventories and Sales report for November (pdf), which incorporates the revised November retail data from that December report and the earlier published November wholesale and factory data to give us a complete picture of the business contribution to the economy for that month….according to the Census Bureau, total manufacturer’s and trade sales were estimated to be valued at a seasonally adjusted $1,462.5 billion in November, down 0.3 percent (±0.2%) from October’s revised sales, but up 4.2 percent (±1.2%) from November sales of a year earlier…note that total October sales were concurrently revised up from the previously reported $1,469.9 billion to $1,467.5 billion, now up just 0.1% from September….manufacturer’s sales fell 0.6% to $505,116 million in November; retail trade sales, which exclude restaurant & bar sales from the revised November retail sales reported earlier, rose 0.2% to $452,014 million, and wholesale sales fell 0.6% to $505,348 million.

Meanwhile, total manufacturer’s and trade inventories, a major component of GDP, were estimated to be valued at a seasonally adjusted $1,980.5 billion at the end of November, down 0.1 percent (±0.1 percent)* from October, but 4.6 percent (±1.4 percent) higher than in November a year earlier…at the same time, the value of end of October inventories was revised from the $1,982.2 billion reported two month ago to $1,982.5 billion….seasonally adjusted inventories of manufacturers were estimated to be valued at $681,056 million, down 0.1% from October, while inventories of retailers were valued at $645,439 million, 0.4% lower than in October, and inventories of wholesalers were estimated to be valued at $654,008 million at the end of November, 0.3% higher than in October…

For GDP purposes, all inventories, including retail, will be adjusted for inflation with appropriate component price indices of the producer price index for November, which was down 0.3% for finished goods, largely on lower energy prices…last week, we looked at real factory inventories with price adjustments for goods at various stages of production, and judged the change in those inventories would have a modest negative impact on 4th quarter GDP growth…the week before that, we found that real wholesale inventories were roughly 0.7% higher, but because of the even larger 3rd quarter increase, they would also subtract from 4th quarter GDP growth….since nominal retail inventories for November have now been shown to 0.4% lower, real retail inventories for the month, even after the 0.3% finished goods price adjustment, would have thus decreased by 0.1% from October, after a small 0.2% increase in that month…since the third quarter saw total inventories increased at a 31.9% annual rate and added 2.33 percentage points to GDP, any inventory increase smaller than that in the 4th quarter would necessarily subtract from the growth of 4th quarter GDP…

Job Openings at a Record High In December; Hiring Up, Layoffs Down, Quitting Little Changed

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report for December from the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that seasonally adjusted job openings increased by 169,000, from 7,166,000 in November to a record 7,335,000 in December, after November job openings were revised 278,000 higher, from 6,888,000 to 7,166,000…December’s jobs openings were also 29.4% higher than the 5,669,000 job openings reported in December a year ago, as the job opening ratio expressed as a percentage of the employed at 4.7% was up from the 4.6% logged in November, and up from 3.7% in December a year ago…the leisure and hospitality sector, with a 121,000 job opening increase to 1,147,000, saw the largest increase, while the trade, transportation, and utilities sector saw job openings decrease by 66,000 to 1,346,000 (see table 1 for more details)…like most BLS releases, the press release for this report is easy to understand and also refers us to the associated table for the data cited, which are linked to at the end of the release…

The JOLTS release also reports on labor turnover, which consists of hires and job separations, which in turn is further divided into layoffs and discharges, those who quit, and ‘other separations’, which includes retirements and deaths….in December, seasonally adjusted new hires totaled 5,907,000, up by 97,000 from the revised 5,812,000 who were hired or rehired in November, as the hiring rate as a percentage of all employed remained unchanged at 3.9% in December, but was up from 3.7% in December a year earlier (details of hiring by sector since March are in table 2)….meanwhile, total separations fell by 18,000, from 5,563,000 in November to 5,545,000 in December, as the separations rate as a percentage of the employed rose was unchanged at 3.7%, while it was up from 3.6% in December a year ago (see table 3)…subtracting the 5,545,000 total separations from the total hires of 5,907,000 would imply an increase of 362,000 jobs in December, quite a few more than the revised payroll job increase of 222,000 for December reported in the January establishment survey of two weeks ago, and outside of the expected +/-115,000 margin of error in these incomplete samplings, indicating one or both of these surveys is in error on the change in December employment…

Breaking down the seasonally adjusted job separations, the BLS finds that 3,482,000 of us voluntarily quit our jobs in December, down from the revised 3,494,000 who quit their jobs in November, while the quits rate, widely watched as an indicator of worker confidence, remained at 2.3% of total employment, the same at it was a year earlier (see details in table 4)….in addition to those who quit, another 1,697,000 were either laid off, fired or otherwise discharged in December, down by 56,000 from the revised 1,753,000 who were discharged in November, as the discharges rate fell from 1.2% to 1.1% of all those who were employed during the month, which was the same as the discharges rate of 1.1% a year earlier….meanwhile, other separations, which includes retirements and deaths, were at 366,000 in November, up from 316,000 in November, for an ‘other separations rate’ of 0.2%, the same rate as in November and the same as in December of last year….both seasonally adjusted and unadjusted details by industry and by region on hires and job separations, and on job quits and discharges can be accessed using the links to tables at the bottom of the press release…  

 

(the above is the synopsis that accompanied my regular sunday morning links emailing, which in turn was mostly selected from my weekly blog post on the global glass onion…if you’d be interested in receiving my weekly emailing of selected links, most picked from the aforementioned GGO posts, contact me…)      

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