Holiday Markets Overreact to Jobs Report – Ep. 481

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Markets Up on Low Volume

A lot of people on Wall Street probably took today off; after all yesterday was the Fourth of July, the market was closed.  On Wednesday they closed the markets early in preparation for the July Fourth holiday.  So when you have a Friday where the markets are open, but you have a Thursday when they’re closed… most people probably left for the Hamptons on Wednesday afternoon, and so were not in their offices or down at the stock market when we released the nonfarm payroll numbers today.

ADP Disappointing Number Teed Up Low Expectations

The June number, highly anticipated, as always, especially with a rate cut on deck now by the Fed. Most of the people who were probably handicapping the jobs number thought that it would probably come out weaker than expected. After all, most of the data we’ve been getting has been weaker than expected.  In particular, the jobs numbers, including the ADP report that came out on Wednesday, on that holiday-shortened trading session.  We got a disappointing number.  The consensus for private-sector employment for ADP was 140,000, and we ended up with 102,000.  So we had a significant miss in the ADP numbers.

Back-to-Back Declines in Small Business Jobs

But also, look at the employment components of some of the other numbers that also came out weak on Wednesday, like the ISM non-manufacturing index.  It printed 55.1 versus an estimate of 55.8.  The employment component of that index was notably weak, especially for small businesses which had major reduction in jobs, no only in this month but the previous month. In fact, I read a tweet by Dave Rosenberg who pointed out that he hasn’t seen back-to-back monthly declines like this since February/March of 2008. That was the year of the Financial Crisis. He basically said that small business job growth is the weakest it’s been in over 9 years.

Bigger Decline in Factory Orders

Now, small business job growth, that is the heart of the job market. That’s where most of the jobs are created. So, if you look at a lot of the other data that has been coming out that might reflect on employment, you might have thought that there might have been a weak number. Look at the factory orders number that also came out on Wednesday. They were looking for a drop of .5% in factory orders, and instead, the orders dropped by .7%. So a bigger decline.