CH: Employment

November 29, 2016 02:15 CST

Actual Previous Revised
Level change (000) Q/Q -5.000 12,000 10,000
Level change (000) Y/Y 15,000 30,000

The upswing in the labour market ominously came to a halt in the third quarter when the number of people in work fell 5,000, or 0.1 percent. This followed a smaller revised 10,000 increase in the previous period. On the year, the unadjusted level was still up 15,000 but this was well short of the second quarter's 30,000 advance.

The quarterly decline was wholly attributable to weakness in goods producing industries and employment here was down 0.7 percent. This more than reversed what proved to be a short-lived 0.4 percent rise in the second quarter. More optimistically, service sector headcount continued to make ground although a 0.1 percent gain was hardly reassuring.

Still, there was some better news on vacancies which saw annual growth of 8.1 percent, split between goods producing industries (6.1 percent) and services (8.7 percent). In the second quarter, overall vacancies were up only 1.6 percent.

Nonetheless, today's data will not dent expectations that Friday's third quarter GDP report will show a marked slowdown in growth from the 0.6 percent quarterly rate posted in April-June.

The quarterly employment barometer is a survey of 18,000 businesses and service sectors encompassing approximately 65,000 establishments. It collects data on job vacancies, recruitment difficulties and the development of employment forecasts. The main focus is on the quarterly and annual changes in overall employment.

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.