U.S. Markets open in 5 hrs 59 mins

Labor Department Scores an Unexpected Homer on Payrolls and Jobs — QE Ending Sooner?

Jon C. Ogg

The October Employment Situation Report from the Labor Department is showing that the government shutdown had almost no real impact to the private sector jobs market. We think that the report is so strong, compared to ADP and TrimTabs data, that some traders and market pundits will accuse these numbers of being flawed.

The official unemployment rate ticked up to 7.3% in October from 7.2% in September. That compares to a 7.3% projection from Bloomberg and a 7.4% projection from Dow Jones.

Where the big surprise took place was a gain of 204,000 in nonfarm payrolls. Bloomberg was expecting only 120,000 and Dow Jones was telegraphing only 120,000 as well. Another boost is that 60,000 were added to the September and August reports.

ALSO READ: Jobs with the Widest Pay Gaps Between Men and Women

The private sector was shown to have ignored the shutdown entirely. This gain in private sector payrolls was 212,000. Bloomberg was calling for only 128,000. The Federal government was shown to have trimmed some 12,000 jobs, and their report was unaffected by the shutdown because the employees technically remained on the payrolls.

Those who are considered underemployed and unemployed combined rose to 13.8% in October from 13.6% in September.

We would point out two issues with this number. First is that the payrolls were so high and so much stronger than ADP and TrimTabs that we expect some pundits and traders will consider the numbers a farce. The second issue is that, if this right after all, then it is strong enough versus prior reports that it gives the Federal Reserve possible ammunition to begin tapering those major bond purchases of $85 billion per month a tad sooner than everyone was hoping recently.