CH: Employment

Tue Aug 25 02:15:00 CDT 2015

Actual Previous
Level change (000) Q/Q 17,000 3,200
Level change (000) Y/Y 48,000 32,800

The labour market proved surprisingly strong last quarter. Seasonally adjusted total employment stood at 4.251 million, up 17,000 or 0.4 percent versus the first quarter when it was hardly changed from the previous period. Unadjusted, total headcount was 48,000 or 1.2 percent above its year ago level following a 0.8 percent gain in the January-March period.

The seasonally adjusted quarterly rise reflected wholly a 0.5 percent increase in services, the sharpest since the fourth quarter of 2014, which comfortably more than offset the first quarter's 0.1 percent dip. However, goods production jobs fell 0.2 percent having stagnated in the previous three quarters.

The second quarter figures look odd in the context of the monthly PMI surveys for which an average second quarter employment sub-index of just 41.5 suggested a significant reduction in jobs. However, taken at face value they point to only limited weakness in the second quarter GDP accounts, due for release on Friday.

Employment data counts the number of paid employees working part-time or full-time in the nation's business and government establishments. The data include employee jobs, self-employed jobs, apprentices and business owners. The definition covers all employment units in which a minimum of 20 hours per week are accomplished.

The employment data give a comprehensive report on how many people have jobs. These numbers are the best way to gauge the current state as well as the future direction of the economy. Employment data are categorized by sectors. This sector data can go a long way in helping investors determine in which economic sectors they intend to invest. By tracking the jobs data, investors can sense the degree of tightness in the job market. If employment is tight it is a good bet that interest rates will rise and bond and stock prices will fall. In contrast, when job growth is slow or negative, then interest rates are likely to decline - boosting up bond and stock prices in the process.