Scoreboard: Upside-down town

Solid jobs data was widely interpreted as weak, cheering investors who hope for a taper delay.

Strong is the new weak. It’s been a trend – the trend really – for this whole expansion phase. I mentioned this as a risk on Monday and as it turns out, the quite solid US jobs gains of 148,000 were indeed described as ‘sluggish’, ‘tepid’, ‘weak’ a ‘jobs stumble’ etc. Sure, the result is weaker than the expectation for 180,000, but it’s still a solid outcome. Moreover, revisions to past months data was a net positive for jobs growth, although a small net positive of 9,000. Still, August’s result was revised up to 193,000 from 169,000 although July’s was revised down to 89,000 from 104,000. That gives a three month average of 148,000 which is a little below the 12 month average gain of 185,000. Lots of numbers there I realise but they are unequivocally robust. The unemployment rate itself fell again, to 7.2 per cent this month which means the unemployment rate has declined by nearly half a percentage point over three months.   

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