Today's May jobs report was a surprise to many economists, who had expected stronger private sector gains. Government-hired Census workers accounted for over 95% of the new jobs; and construction jobs were weaker than anticipated. What does the job report tell us about job gains ahead - is the job market strengthening or weakening?
Sometimes daily observation helps to answer tough economic questions.
Looking at other data and our daily drive to work, we have noticed highway construction work everywhere. (Commuting is a nightmare.) Highway construction has popped up in the past few weeks, after the survey period for the May employment report (centered around the 12th of the month.) Maybe, as we're stuck in traffic, we are noticing a ramp-up in our stimulus dollars at work, to be reported in the June jobs figures. If the highway jobs we've noticed are in fact new job creation, it will be interesting to see whether they turn out to be government or private sector jobs. Stay tuned for the June report in a month.