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--Barry Asmus

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The First Half Of The Measures

We kick off the market measures today with the ADP Employment Report and Productivity and Costs.

Automatic Data Processing, Inc. is, according to their web site, "one of the world's largest providers of business outsourcing solutions." They provide "...HR, payroll, tax and benefits administration solutions." This puts them in a good place to examine the employment situation, because they're providing payroll services to some 550,000 clients. Their report doesn't carry the same weight as the BLS Employment Situation report, but it still provides a good look at what nonfarm private sector employment looks like.

Their report can be read at http://www.adpemploymentreport.com/, which shows that private sector employment rose by 93,000 in November. That's up from a (revised) 82,000 increase in October, and represents the 10th consecutive month of gains (with an average of 47,000 new jobs per month). They do not, however, expect this to be enough gains to lower the unemployment rate. Their prediction is that unemployment will remain above 9% through 2011. 79,000 of the new jobs came from the service sector and 14,000 came from the goods-producing sector. Small businesses saw an increase of 54,000 jobs, medium-size businesses saw an increase of 37,000, and large businesses saw a 2000 increase.

Moving on to productivity and costs, this measures the Q/Q change in nonfarm productivity and in unit labor costs. The information is compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Street likes it because they like seeing the companies they invest in maximizing production while minimizing costs (because that means maximizing profits). This month, we get the Q3 2010 revised estimates.

The initial data (released in September) indicated that nonfarm productivity had increased by 1.9% and unit labor costs were down 0.1%. Looking to the final revision, analysts were looking to see a nonfarm productivity revised to up 2.0% and unit labor costs revised to a net change of 0.0%.

The report is available at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/prod2.pdf. Nonfarm productivity was revised to a 2.3% increase, with unit labor costs down 0.1%. Not too shabby. Pretty much in line with expectations.

See you in about half an hour or so with the ISM Manufacturing Index and Constructions Spending.

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