I still haven’t seen a good explanation for why the ADP estimated 201,000 jobs in August and BLS reported 96,000, however neither number tells the whole story, and the month August was actually a strong month for job growth as far as the month of August is concerned.
The BLS today reported a gain of 96,000 in nonfarm payrolls. That compares with a gain of 252,000 in the actual, not seasonally adjusted number. August is usually an up month. Last year the NSA gain was 240,000 in August. In 2010, it was just 71,000. The 10 year average gain for August for 2002 to 2011 was 78,000. Even the roaring bubble years of 2005 and 2006 did not have August gains as large as this year. August 2005 had a gain of 245,000, and August 2006 was up 202,000. Not only was this year’s gain the best in the last 11 years, it was the biggest August gain since 1996 (irrational exuberance, anyone?) which had a bump of 289,000.
Additionally, 96,000 nonfarm jobs in the month of August is the highest amount since August 2006.
August 2003: – 45,000
August 2004: +122,000
August 2005: +193,000
August 2006: +183,000
August 2007: – 18,000
August 2008: – 274,000
August 2009: – 231,000
August 2010: – 51,000 (worsened by Census layoffs)
August 2011: + 85,000
August 2012: + 96,000
Is it good enough? No, but you already know that. It is better than your average gotcha headline will lead you to believe, however.