Friday, February 2, 2007

Non Farm Payrolls

January non farm payrolls came through weaker than expected at 111k vs the expected 155k. The unemployment rate ticked up a tenth to 4.6%. But there were big revisions to previous months: November non farm payrolls revised to 196k from 154k and December was revised to 206K from 167K. That actually reverses a recent trend that featured downward revisions to the data. You've got to wonder what they're up to at the Labor Department and why they want their data to be so sharply revised. If this keeps up this will be seen as totally unreliable data. Perhaps that's the way they want it!

Stock futures have since pushed higher. My concern for the stock market is that while the Dow tacked on a gain of 50 yesterday and hit another new record high, this now makes three key weak data points - Wednesday's Chicago manufacturing data, Thursday PMI, and now today's non farm payrolls. It wouldn't be a complete surprise if some "economic concerns" set in, though in defense of the bulls breadth in this latest leg up has been looking better, Time will tell.

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