Blue World Jobs Report Analysis March 9, 2018

Blue World Employment Situation Report Analysis

Release Date: Usually on the first Friday of the month

Release Site:

Market Impact: Usually Very High

Management Value: Critical

Date: Friday, March 09, 2018

Brain Surgery is not Rocket Science to a Brain Surgeon©





And you know we try! So often is the case that the headlines are contradicted by the detail the deeper we push into the weeds. This works in both directions and for any report, not just jobs. This report has a couple of “weaker” spots but no “weak” ones. We’ll start with those.

Overall, Weekly Hours Worked and Wages were essentially up-less-than-expected to flat as was the number of Unemployed. That’s it.

The Participation Rate bridges the gap between “weak” and “strong” by straddling the line, in as much as 63% is still unacceptably low, but it moved .3% to the North in a single month. You may recall we were horrified the last time it moved that much from one report to the next. We called it virtually unprecedented, and it moved the wrong way. Not this time!

The headlines screamed 313k of which 287k came from the Private Sector. That, plus upward revisions to December 2017 and January 2018 of +54k, brings the 2018 monthly average to the mid-200’s.  The Labor Force grew by an impressive and refreshing 806k. Total Employed grew by 785k, and the Not in Labor Force tally fell by a fabulous 653k. That’s huge. The Diffusion indexes for the Total Private Sector and Manufacturing are massive and flirting with 70. For reference, we saw 30s not so long ago.

Now, let’s get back to hours and wages. There is concern from the “experts” out there this morning that there is still no sign of wage pressure. Au contraire! I guess they just don’t know their way around the deep weeds like we do… Review Table B-3 of the Report. Average Hourly Earnings for All Employees M/M and Y/Y were up .1% and 2.5%, respectively. Both were below most consensus estimates. BUT, Average Weekly Earnings were up 3.1% Y/Y so salaried employees seem to be on the move so Hourly will follow if this holds. Even more important, compensation in the Construction industry came in at Y/Y increases of 3.5% and 4% for Hourly and Weekly, respectively. In our relative world of the past ten years, those are pretty good numbers. The work week for all employees remained range-bound but Weekly Hours in Manufacturing jumped from 41.2 hours to 41.5 hours. That is the highest reading since before 2011 (Chart) and Overtime in Manufacturing hit 3.6 hours. That is only the second time since 2011.

Risks? First and foremost is still the Fed. We don’t want to see rate hikes in anticipation of inflation. We need to see some consistent evidence and inter-report confirmation lest we risk locking up the economic brakes. Second, this report may set unrealistic expectations. A reading of say, 230k in the Private Sector next month may not look so good compared to today’s outsized numbers. Also, beware of revisions. We see them be material time and time again. Today is a great example. Optimism, when supported by trending data, is OK when making strategic business decisions. Euphoria is just plain dangerous!

Matt will be on WBBM’s Noon Business Hour in Chicago at 12:09 CST to break it all down live. That’s AM780 and 105.9FM and the Podcast will post later in the day.

If you missed it, you can review the Blue World Economic Index® for February 2018. We’ll see you back here around the first of April for the next BWEI® Report and the jobs report for March is schedule for release on Friday, April 6th.

Have a great March and may your brackets prove un-bustable!!

Thanks for reading, and please stay tuned…

Release Site:

Every effort is made to ensure accuracy of data transcription but accuracy cannot be guaranteed.  The official release site should be cross referenced. The analysis represents the opinion of Blue World Asset Managers, LTD. who does not warrant or guarantee predictions based on its analysis.


©Blue World Asset Managers, LTD Friday, March 09, 2018

Blue World Economic Index® for February 2018

Brief Explanation

Blue World Economic Index®

Scale: -2 to +2

Release Date:  Usually the Last or First Business Day of Each Month

Release Site:

Management Value: Critical

Date: Thursday, March 01, 2018







Confirming our regular observation that stock market performance is not a good proxy for economic health, the U.S. economy remained firmly on solid ground in February 2018 pulling back .04 from its record high .18 for December to its prior record high of .14, but there were some hints at trouble. The first half of the month looked to continue an uninterrupted northerly trend, but then mid-month started getting weird with a huge downgrade to December retail, soft January readings and a sudden build to inventories at the manufacturer and wholesale levels. Retailer inventories remained low, but the obvious concern now is that the motivation to aggressively re-stock may be muted.

The Inflation composite was unchanged at a continued weak -.23. The PPI had been showing signs for months, but the CPI just never followed suit. This month it was the CPI showing a material pop and the PPI showing weakness. The Fed is signaling more rate hikes, and that has spawned “Correction Part Deux” this week. We remain of the opinion that inflation is not a material risk at present based on the inconsistent and non-confirmatory nature of the six reports that comprise the BWEI® Inflation component.

While we still consider the Fed to be the biggest risk to the economy right now, there are several other things we could talk about but only two of real note. First is that the Consumer component is still stratospheric, regularly setting new records, and showing no sign of slowing. Second is the seemingly emergent turbulence in Real Estate as (you guessed it) rates rise. We are starting to see corroboration in other subtle corners of the economy such as the wobbly performance of furniture sales in the last couple of months. 

We’ve already fielded a couple of questions regarding the downward revision to GDP. Fuggetaboudit. The downgrade was largely based on the inventory phenomenon and a blip widening of the trade gap as exports took a hit. That masked what was an otherwise 4%+ report.

The Numbers

We got a little long-winded in the analysis section, so instead of listing out the numbers we decided to just post the composite table for the month. If there are any specific questions, give us a call or ping us through the Blue World contact form.

The jobs report has been scheduled for Friday, March 9th. Our analysis will be up that morning and then Matt will go on the air in Chicago with the Noon Business Hour crew at WBBM AM780 and 105.9FM at 12:09 central time to break it down live. The podcast will post later in the day.


Have a great March and may your brackets be un-bustable!!


Every effort is made to ensure accuracy of data transcription but accuracy cannot be guaranteed.  The official release sites should be cross referenced.  The index assignments represent the opinion of Blue World Asset Managers, Ltd. who does not warrant or guarantee predictions based on the index.

©Blue World Asset Managers, LTD Thursday, March 01, 2018