Fun Friday, errr I mean Jobs Friday

by Jay Pestrichelli on March 9th, 2012

As data hogs, we at Buy and Hedge love to look at any set of data that can be trended, charted or tracked. That makes the monthly data especially fun for us to look at. Oh yeah, and it can be a major market mover so we like to get as smart about it as possible.

While this months data wasn’t met with the fan fare we’ve seen the past few months there are still plenty of interesting trends we see emerging. Just as a reminder, we consider this data to be a lagging indicator so it is more of an exercise of confirmation than of projections.

First and foremost is the jobs number itself: For February the country added 227k jobs and the unemployment rate stayed steady at 8.3%. Add to that December was revised up 20k and January revised up 61k. In total that’s 308k. Not a bad report overall.
While the upward revisions weren’t nearly as dramatic as the November data, the trend of revising upward is pretty apparent.

As for the general trend of the total jobs data, it also continues its upward trend.
One could argue that the movement in hiring and working Americans supports the rally we’ve seen the last 5 months. For those that think we’ve gone too high too fast, this lagging indicator may tell them to revise their thinking and accept what the market has given them.

A dew sectors we’ll call out:
Transports: January’s data was revised up 30k and the trend in this category continues to show growth and supports a recovering economy thesis as the sector expands past last year’s levels.
Healthcare: This sector also continues to add jobs over last year and is trending upward as well.
As we’ve said before, use this data as a tool for looking back and confirming your outlook. If there are other sectors anyone would like to see, just send us the requests and we’ll update this blog post.

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