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October Employment Numbers

November 12, 2021

While the media focuses on seasonally adjusted numbers, ITR Economics prefers the unadjusted data - so what is that data telling us about employment trends from the past couple months? Catch our newest TrendsTalk episode with ITR CEO and Chief Economist Brian Beaulieu to learn more.



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The below transcript is a literal translation of the podcast audio that has been machine generated by Rev.

Hello. I'm Brian Beaulieu CEO, Chief Economist of ITR Economics, and thank you for joining us for this edition of TrendsTalk. Want to talk about the October employment numbers. They came in very strong, as a matter of fact. The media uses one set of numbers. They like using the seasonally adjusted data, which is fine. That's conventional. But it also distorts what's going on in the data. We like to use the unadjusted data, private sector, workforce. And that number was very strong over October.

The media was saying that after two months of slumping the number came back strong in October. I don't know what they're talking about folks. Slumping, is because we couldn't find enough people over the course of August and September. They didn't want to work apparently, or they weren't in the right markets or with the right skillsets. It's nobody that I knew of was saying, "Look, I don't want to hire anybody in the August and September." That's just not reality. It wasn't a slumping jobs market, it was a slumping supply market is what it looked like from our perspective.

In October, using not seasonally adjusted dollar or numbers, the economy added 1,292,000 jobs from September. As apparently people stepped forward and we found people that we wanted to hire. That's incredible. It is a great increase from the prior month, but there was no slumping in August or September. When we look at the month to month change in what was going on it was normal, seasonal variations going on at that particular time, there was no slump.

And we look at the year over year numbers when it comes to employment, they're running at a 4.5% clip year over year. Now that is down from earlier when we are comparing to the pits of the COVID recession, but at 4.5% this is amazingly strong growth. Just look, you got to go back into the 1970s define sustainable job growth. Like we've been going through just over the last three months when we've gotten past the strange comparisons to COVID. This is a very robust jobs market. There is no slump and you and I are going to have ongoing difficult time find the right people to workforce. And maybe that means we need to emphasize the right people in a different way than we use, right mindset, right attitude, great work ethic. You define what is right. It's easy to train somebody with skills than it is to train them, to have the right attitude and to show up every day, this is a strong jobs market. It is very encouraging vis-a-vis saying disposable, personal income continue to do well.

Anyways for retail sales to grow our economy to grow, we're still looking at it, slowing in the rate of growth, but that doesn't mean we're going to see much in the way of a slowing in employment because the need is high and people are going to have a good time finding their right employer or their right future employer. And you and I are going to have to be relentless in our quest for the right employees. The numbers were good in October. There was no slump and there isn't going to be a slump. We need to keep on looking for the right people to manage the growth that we see for 22, 23 and 24 that isn't changing. Spring on another 1.29 million individuals. We need them. This is Brian Beaulieu for ITR economics. Thank you for joining us for this edition of TrendsTalk.


Since 1948, we have provided business leaders with economic information, insight, analysis, and strategy. ITR Economics is the oldest privately held, continuously operating economic research and consulting firm in the US. With a knowledge base that spans six decades, we have an uncommon understanding of long-term economic trends as well as best practices ahead of changing market conditions. Our reputation is built on accurate, independent, and objective analysis.