Lower Unemployment & Payrolls Data Stump The Markets

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The Labor Department is out with its report on the labor situation for April and the report is going to raise some eyebrows.  The official unemployment rate mysteriously came in 8.1% versus 8.2% in March and versus the Bloomberg estimate of 8.2% and versus the Dow Jones consensus of 8.2%.

Today’s report showed that the nonfarm payrolls grew by only 115,000.  Bloomberg had estimates of 165,000 although the whisper number had to be lower because of the weaker than expected jobs numbers that were released by ADP and TrimTabs earlier this week.

The notion that a larger than expected drop in the weekly jobless claims on Thursday would have allowed for a lower number is probably not in the cards. Private payrolls came in at 130,000 versus the Bloomberg consensus of 178,000. Government payrolls shrank by 15,000.  he broader measure of unemployment which includes those seeking jobs, underemployed, and part-time was steady at 14.5%.

These are two of the caveats that need to be addressed, because these are where the conspiracy theorists are going to harp:  the total workforce shrank by 342,000 and the labor participation rate dropped to 63.6%.  There was also an expiration of unemployment insurance benefits in nine states which may have aided the shrinking of the participation rate.