Even A Broken Clock is Accurate Twice a Day
I am frequently in error but rarely in doubt, so when I am right I have to make sure someone notices. Good news was reported today on job growth nationally, as an estimated 236,000 jobs were added across the country in February. I hate to sound jaded but in each of the prior two years job growth looked to be accelerating early in the year only to experience a significant mid-year slump. For now, however, it is a positive sign. I have been especially and uncharacteristically gloomy in my characterization of NH’s economy but there was some little reported good news on that front released last week. The annual benchmark employment revisions showed that NH has 9,600 more jobs than originally estimated. I won’t get into why the revisions are necessary and can result in some significant changes in the numbers but in my very first post in this blog back in October I highlighted the disconnect between the volume of help-wanted advertising in NH and estimates of job growth in the state.
“In the first ever Trend Lines blog post I begin by asking a basic question: Could the most recent job growth picture in NH be distorted by numbers that will later be revised?”
I also suggested that growth trends in reported wages and salaries in the state were also inconsistent with estimated job growth trends. In that post and in subsequent posts (here and here) and others as well, I talked about a potential “skills gap” as a contributor to the disconnect between help-wanted ads and NH’s reported job growth. I think a “skills gap” is a contributing factor but as I argued in my first and subsequent posts – my money is on job growth being revised upward. It is nice to be right but it really doesn’t change the overall theme of NH’s economy- that it continues to under perform relative to states it typically outperforms. That was also predictable:
“…that the jobs data is wrong and will be revised upward early next year, is real, but that doesn’t mean the revisions will show NH is again outperforming its neighbors or the nation. It just means we will look less bad over the past year or so than we do right now.”
Five months later I think that still sums-up my feelings about the revisions, its good to know we have more jobs but we are still in a growth mode that is too slow. With the revised job numbers for NH the relationship between help-wanted advertising and reported job growth looks more appropriate.
The revised job numbers also are more consistent with PolEcon’s NH Leading Index which had been signalling stronger employment growth in NH than was first reported. The revised job numbers are more consistent with the signals provided by the Leading Index. That may not mean much to anyone but to me it means I won’t have to spend a lot of time re-calibrating the Index and that means a more enjoyable weekend. Enjoy yours.