Last week’s unemployment report confused, confounded, and pretty much left everyone scratching their heads. But considering the impact of weather on recent week’s jobless claims, you may just be better of ignoring it.
We’re seeing a spike in weather related unemployment just like last February when the U.S. had a massive winter storm, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Ethan S. Harris.
And while the spike may not be as big as last year’s, it’s having a real impact on recent jobs data.
From Ethan S. Harris:
In a separate question, 886,000 people reported “employed but not at work due to bad weather”. This is comparable to past storms that happened during the survey week in February 2010 (Chart 8). This number doesn’t match up closely with the payroll data, but it does give a sense of how hard it was to get to work that week. Bad weather also probably accounted for the drop in the work week—people took snow days—and the rise in wages per hour—some people got their usual weekly paycheck even though they worked less.
Take a look at the abnormal amount of unemployment driven by recent horrendous weather.
Photo: BofA Merrill Lynch
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