Non-farm payroll data

In the previous part of this series, we saw that unemployment claims are hovering near 15-year lows. Now let’s look at the current US employment situation in detail.

The NFP (non-farm payroll) shows the number of jobs added or lost each month. On May 8, 2015, the BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) released the employment situation summary for April. The NFP employment figure increased by 223,000, slightly below market expectations of 228,000.

Why Investors Should Keep an Eye on Non-Farm Payroll

Jobs up in April after flat March

Manufacturers only added 1,000 jobs in April after a flat reading in March. In contrast, construction companies added a healthy 45,000 jobs, the highest number in the past 16 months. The strong increase is due mainly to the recovering construction sector after the cold winter weather.

Job adds in high-paying professional and business services were strong. They added 62,000 jobs in April.

The mining industry, including oil and gas, cut 15,000 jobs in April. Year-to-date, mining cut 49,000 jobs due to the industry’s weak pricing environment.

Positive for automobile companies

First-time vehicle buyers make up one of the most important customer segments for automobile companies such as Toyota Motor (TM) and General Motors (GM). Ford (F), through its financing arm, has an incentive program aimed at first-time vehicle buyers.

Additions in new jobs means a lot of fresh graduates are entering the job market. As the job market improves for younger adults, they typically contemplate buying a vehicle. This bodes well for future vehicle sales.

Another factor that drives US vehicle sales is consumer confidence. In the next part, we’ll look at the latest trend in the US (IVV) (SPY) Consumer Confidence Index.

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