skip navigation

By the Numbers

Featuring brief segments of economic analysis from our senior economist Michael Bazdarich, PhD.

The economic analysis we previously featured in By the Numbers is now available on the Western Asset Blog. This page will no longer be updated.

November Shows Decent Job Growth

Employment data showed decent growth in November, with private-sector jobs up 197,000 from October and substantial upward revisions to previous months. Household employment rose 244,000, following a 320,000 October gain, but these followed a September decline of 204,000.

Once again, the gains were decent, following a strong October print, but we can’t wax as effusively on the release as the Wall Street consensus seems to be doing. As seen in the accompanying chart, the November gains are actually a bit below the average of the last five years. Also, much of the strength occurred in construction and retailing, which tend to be quite volatile from month to month. With homebuilding on the rise for now, there is reason to credit the construction gains. However, with retail sales soggy the last few months and early reports on Christmas sales disappointing, the retail job gains are more suspect.

Last, there is the issue of a substantial slowing this year in household jobs data. Though household jobs data did show good gains in October and November, those do not come close to fully offsetting the much weaker gains in household jobs seen earlier this year. Both payroll and household jobs showed average monthly gains of around 260,000 in 2014. Through the first 11 months of 2015, payroll job growth has slowed somewhat to 210,000 per month, but household jobs have slowed more substantially, to only 146,000 per month. No, the economy isn’t tanking, but only in a dumbed-down world would recent jobs data be seen as robust.

Meanwhile, the factory sector has been a focus of ours, and today’s data there were downbeat. Factory production jobs and production hours both declined slightly in November. This was a move downward from the bounce these indicators showed in October, thus a resumption of the downtrend seen through the first 9 months of the year. Declining October exports (also announced today) were a further indication of ongoing softness in US manufacturing. We believe the softness in US manufacturing will become a more noticeable drag on US growth in 2016, when the upturn in homebuilding is likely to top out.

Private-Sector Job Growth
Private-Sector Job Growth Chart
Chart Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of 30 Nov 15.

Michael Bazdarich

Product Specialist/Economist

Mike brings more than 45 years of experience to his position. "By the Numbers" will address economic data releases that are pertinent to a broad range of investors.

Prior to joining the Firm in 2005, Mike ran his own consulting firm, MB Economics. He earned his PhD in Economics at the University of Chicago.

Sign up to receive email updates as new reports are released.

© Western Asset Management Company, LLC 2022. This publication is the property of Western Asset and is intended for the sole use of its clients, consultants, and other intended recipients. It should not be forwarded to any other person. Contents herein should be treated as confidential and proprietary information. This material may not be reproduced or used in any form or medium without express written permission.
Past results are not indicative of future investment results. This publication is for informational purposes only and reflects the current opinions of Western Asset. Information contained herein is believed to be accurate, but cannot be guaranteed. Opinions represented are not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security and are subject to change without notice. Statements in this material should not be considered investment advice. Employees and/or clients of Western Asset may have a position in the securities mentioned. This publication has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, you should consider its appropriateness having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs. It is your responsibility to be aware of and observe the applicable laws and regulations of your country of residence.
Western Asset Management Company Distribuidora de Títulos e Valores Mobiliários Limitada is authorized and regulated by Comissão de Valores Mobiliários and Brazilian Central Bank. Western Asset Management Company Pty Ltd ABN 41 117 767 923 is the holder of the Australian Financial Services Licence 303160. Western Asset Management Company Pte. Ltd. Co. Reg. No. 200007692R is a holder of a Capital Markets Services Licence for fund management and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Western Asset Management Company Ltd is a registered Financial Instruments Business Operator and regulated by the Financial Services Agency of Japan. Western Asset Management Company Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) (FRN 145930). This communication is intended for distribution to Professional Clients only if deemed to be a financial promotion in the UK as defined by the FCA. This communication may also be intended for certain EEA countries where Western Asset has been granted permission to do so. For the current list of the approved EEA countries please contact Western Asset at +44 (0)20 7422 3000.