A little tongue-in-cheek wonkery on NFP from Barron’s:
“The Labor Department reported that 243,000 folks were added to nonfarm payrolls in January, a cool hundred grand more than economists had estimated, while the politically sensitive unemployment rate dropped an unexpected 0.2 percentage point, to 8.3%, the lowest in three years and down from over 9% just six months ago. Moreover, the details that can obscure or exaggerate the true nature of the jobs report were pretty much on the plus side as well. The preceding two months’ payroll tallies were revised up, and the jobless rate reflected an expanded labor force, rather than just dropouts. Finally, the so-called underemployment rate (U6 to fans of the data), which takes in folks who have quit looking for work or are working part-time but really want or need a full-time gig, edged down 0.1 percentage points last month, to 15.1%, and from around 16% for much of last year.
Perusing the payrolls data (which, of course, come from a survey of businesses, separate from the household survey from which the jobless rate is derived), our friends at the Liscio Report, Doug Henwood and Philippa Dunne, noted that payrolls posted their biggest rise since last April and their third-best monthly gain since 2006. Goods-producing industries had solid gains, with manufacturing up by 50,000, mining and logging up 10,000 and construction up 21,000, although the mild winter no doubt boosted the seasonally adjusted addition to the building trades. Meanwhile, finance shed 5,000 workers, information workers fell 13,000, and government was off another 14,000.
About the only bad news in the employment report was for Facebook. It can’t be a coincidence that its roster of users swelled to over 800 million worldwide during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, as joblessness swelled and with it, free time to spend on Facebook. And in the U.S., jobs are growing in manufacturing and construction, where few people sit in front of PCs, while shrinking in information, finance and government, where most everybody does.
So, as Facebook users go back to work, they will have less time to update their pages and peer at those of others. And fewer office jobs also means less time goofing off at work looking at Facebook (which is broken up by watching videos on You Tube.)”
More Jobs, Less Facebook
Barrons FEBRUARY 4, 2012
RANDALL W. FORSYTH