It’s hard to imagine that the muddled jobs picture could possibly get any murkier, but it is. Between ADP’s ‘Purge Effect,’ archaic seasonality adjustments (i.e., UPS and FedEx are still not fully accounted for in seasonal holiday hiring models), constant backwards revisions from the Department of Labor (a game ADP is now even playing), and a baffling initial December jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get an accurate sense of what is going on with the nation’s jobs picture. And while tomorrow’s jobs report may not provide much clarity, there is little doubt that based on LinkUp’s jobs data for January, the picture will not only get a lot clearer in February, everyone in the country (with the possible exception of Mitt Romney) will be ecstatic about what that picture looks like.
But before we get to February, I’ll start with our prediction for tomorrow’s BLS data for January. Based on LinkUp’s jobs data from December, we are forecasting that the U.S. economy added 20,000 jobs more than whatever the country added in December. I say that not to be cute, but because our model is based on the change in job growth or decline from the prior month. So if the BLS does not revise the numbers it reported for December (job growth of 200,000), then we predict that the economy added 220,000 jobs in January. However, if the BLS revises its December numbers down (as we believe they will and should), then our forecast is that January’s job growth will be 20,000 higher than whatever they revise it to. (Unfortunately, they will most likely revise December’s numbers again in the February Employment Situation report that will be released in March).
But far more critical than the January numbers, which will be pretty milquetoast in any event, will be the revisions to the November and December numbers. Based on LinkUp’s jobs data from Q4 ’11, there is no conceivable way that the U.S. economy added 300,000 full-time jobs in November and December. In fact, our model indicates that the U.S. economy actually lost 60,000 jobs in the final 2 months of the year.
If tomorrow’s BLS revisions reflect the fact that job growth has been negative or even significantly more muted than previously reported, I have to believe that the markets will respond accordingly. Having said that, however, the bearish sentiment will be short-lived given LinkUp’s jobs data for January. Based on the 50% increase in new job listings from company websites and the 19% gain in total job listings on company websites, combined with the fact that all 50 states saw increases in both new and total job listings, the BLS report for February will undoubtedly be the most positive employment report the country has seen in years.
For background purposes, LinkUp is the only job search engine on the web that indexes only jobs found on corporate websites throughout the U.S. Updated daily, LinkUp’s job search engine contains 830,000 job openings indexed from 22,000 company websites. Because LinkUp does not include any jobs sourced from job boards and does not allow anyone to post jobs directly to the site, the search engine does not include any garbage listings such as job scams, phishing posts, work-at-home-scams, or old listings. And because LinkUp only indexes jobs from a single source (the employer’s corporate website itself), there are no duplicate listings that pollute aggregator sites such as Indeed and Simplyhired. As a result of these entirely unique attributes, not only is LinkUp the highest quality job site for job seekers (and it’s FREE!), but our jobs data is the ‘cleanest’ in the industry, entirely unencumbered by the noise that afflicts other jobs data sets.
The jobs by category numbers in January were equally as positive, with 30 of 31 categories reporting increases in new job listings and all 31 categories reporting increases in total job openings.
Based on LinkUp’s fantastically positive jobs data from January, we are forecasting that the U.S. economy will add 150,000 more jobs in February than whatever the number is for January. At the moment, without accounting for any revisions that might take place tomorrow or next month, that number would be 370,000 jobs created in February.
And no matter what happens in tomorrow’s report with data from November, December, and January, it is absolutely certain that the jobs picture is finally starting to improve and that, furthermore, the rate of improvement is accelerating. I’d even go so far as to state that what we are seeing indicates that employment rolls will snap back faster than almost all the pundits are predicting, and that the end of the Great Recession might actually start coming into view. Wouldn’t that be fun?
Even Mitt would have to cheer for that.