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Consumers Positive Despite Weak Employment Data

Job Market BHThe BLS employment situation for May did not bring good news—only 38,000 jobs were added, which was the lowest total for one month in almost six years.

But one would never know that May's jobs report was so weak by looking at a survey of consumer expectations from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released on Monday. According to the May 2016 Survey of Consumer Expectations from the New York Fed, more consumers expect to find jobs and fewer consumers expect to be leaving jobs anytime soon.

Consumers' expectations for the labor market rebounded in May after declining in April. According to the New York Fed's poll of 1,200 household heads via the Internet, the mean probability of losing one's job in the next 12 months dropped from April to May by nearly a full percentage point (from 15.8 percent down to 14.9) after a significant jump from March to April. The number of respondents who said they expect to leave their job voluntarily in the next 12 months also dropped from April to May, from 23.1 percent down to 21.8 percent.

NY Fed graph


While fewer consumers expect to lose their job involuntarily or leave their job voluntarily in the next year, more consumers said they expected to be able to find a job in the next three months if they were to lose their job. That number leaped from 52.9 percent up to 55.4 percent and was pronounced among younger, lower-educated, and lower-income respondents, according to the New York Fed.

The number of survey respondents who said they think the U.S. unemployment rate will be higher a year from now dropped from 39.3 percent in April to 39.1 percent in May. The unemployment rate was the one bright spot in the May BLS report, falling from 5.0 percent down to 4.7 percent. The labor force participation rate, however, was reported to be a mere 62.6 percent, offsetting first-quarter gains.

While respondents may have been more certain about keeping a job or finding a job if one were lost, they were less certain about their income. The media one-year ahead expected earnings growth declined from April to May from 2.4 percent down to 2.2 percent, driven by mostly younger and lower-educated respondents, according to the New York Fed. Also, there was a noticeable increase in the uncertainty surrounding earnings growth for the coming year.




About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.

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