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LinkUp Forecasting Solid Job Gains In March But Down Slightly From February
As a result of having broken my left wrist while snowboarding in Colorado last week (Sun Down Bowl, Forever), I will be honoring the December 20, 1980 Jets-Dolphins game with this month’s non-farm payroll (NFP) forecast. During that historic broadcast nearly 35 years ago, NBC’s Don Ohlmeyer decided to eliminate the play-by-play crew in an effort to increase the ratings for what he called a “dog of a game.” So in tribute to that game (but mostly because one-handed typing is ridiculous), I am eliminating the play-by-play for this month’s NFP blog post.
I do have to make one comment given that our forecast might appear a bit anomalous given our projected decrease in net job gains from the prior month despite a 10.2% increase in the blended average between new and total job openings on LinkUp in February. The forecast of a net gain of 275,000 jobs in March, which is 20,000 jobs less than the 295,000 jobs gained in February, is due to the fact that the blended average of new and total jobs in LinkUp’s job search engine (which indexes 3 million jobs from 50,000 corporate websites) fell by 0.8% in February (see last month’s new and total ‘Jobs by State’ chart).
The 10.2% in the table above results from our paired-month methodology in which we use two sets of data points for February – the first when comparing February to January and the second when comparing February to March. In looking back at historical data, it appears that in months like February where job listings actually fell from January but the blended average using the paired-month methodology shows a positive gain, the negative number becomes the overriding factor. This was the case in April and May of 2013 and again in June and July of 2014. This refinement to our forecasting model would have rectified 3 of those 4 forecasts and we’ll see if that holds true again with Friday’s numbers.
And in the event that our methodology remains somewhat or perhaps entirely opaque, rest assured that there is a method to the madness – a method, in fact, that resulted in LinkUp being the 3rd most accurate forecaster among participants in Bloomberg’s monthly NFP survey for 2013 and 2014.
I hope our streak continues and that this latest tweak to our model doesn’t turn this month’s prediction into a dog of a forecast.