April jobs report: Not as bad as you think

The headline payroll numbers fell short of consensus expectations in April, rising 115,000 overall and 130,000 for the private sector. However, the Labor Department once again made large upward revisions to prior months. Including these revisions, nonfarm payrolls were up 168,000 and private payrolls were up 196,000, both beating consensus expectations.

Some analysts ignore these revisions, but we think that’s a big mistake. Normal monthly revisions to the original payroll report have now been positive for ten straight months and have averaged about 40,000 per month during this period. As a result, without revisions, analysts have a systematically and downwardly biased impression about the job market…

Another piece of good news in today’s report is that the median duration of unemployment dropped to 19.4 weeks, the lowest level since 2009.