The employment picture is a difficult to get a handle on as there are so many moving parts and various data points. Additionally, the data can tend to be skewed. For example, the unemployment numbers have continued to fall, yet many will say it has been aided by so many of the unemployed giving up and removing themselves from the workforce.
In the charts below, courtesy of whitehouse.gov, we take a quick visual assessment of the jobs picture, which in our opinion is still mixed, with some good data points and some not so good.
First, let’s take a look at private sector payrolls. As illustrated in the chart below, payrolls in the private sector have been stable; as the 12 month moving average shows, however, they have basically flat-lined since 2011. So while stable is good, it is far from the optimal condition of expanding.
The second chart we examine illustrates the current streak of private sector job growth, which is currently enjoying its longest consecutive month of gains, at 52 weeks. While encouraging, our next chart will dilute this a bit.
Our last chart, employment growth by industry, shows where the jobs gains are coming. As seen, retail, leisure and hospitality, and healthcare/social assistance, 3 historically low paying industries, are leading the gains.
Additionally, government related job growth has also been strong, which suggests to us the private sector is still on the come.
While better than where the economy was at the nadir of the financial crisis, job growth is still a bit of a mixed picture, with more jobs, but hardly thos with barn burner type salaries.