The labour market performed much as expected last month. Unadjusted joblessness rose 1,243 or 0.9 percent to 138,226, leaving the unemployment rate steady at 3.2 percent. This maintained the 0.2 percentage point spread versus the year ago rate as seen since May. However, seasonal factors bias the rate down in September and adjusted for these the number of people out of work climbed 820 or 0.6 percent which was enough to lift the adjusted rate from 3.3 percent to 3.4 percent, its highest level since August 2010.
However, other aspects of the report were more positive and seasonally adjusted vacancies were up 2.6 percent from July to yield an unadjusted annual increase of 2.7 percent.
Amidst the usual volatility of the monthly data the signs are that the Swiss labour market is still on the wane. That said, the increase in vacancies suggests that businesses may be becoming a little more confident about the economic outlook.
The unemployment rate measures the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labor force. The monthly report provides both raw and seasonally adjusted data; the latter are the more important for identifying short-term trends.
Like the employment data, unemployment data help 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.
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