From Nomura, an interesting observation on the weak jobs report:
For details, job loss in the construction industry (-7k) was most likely a continuation of the reversal of the weather-related boost to jobs in this sector in December and January. Outside of construction, however, shifting weather patterns were not enough to explain the weakness in overall job creation in March. We are especially concerned by the second straight month of significant losses in retail (-29k and -34k in Feb and Mar, respectively). Again, weather patterns cannot explain this loss in retail jobs, which were concentrated in general merchandise stores. Furthermore, according to the International Council of Shopping centres (ICSC) comparable chain store sales experienced solid growth in March, both on a year-on-year and month-on-month basis (Figure 1). It is possible that shifts in seasonal hiring are at play in the retail sales figures, nevertheless the puzzling job loss makes the March retail sales report (released on Monday, 16 April) all the more important.
Indeed, something we’ve been talking a lot about is how — to the surprise of many — retail is not taking it on the chin due to higher gas prices.
The idea of holiday giveback makes some sense, but the BLS does try to account for that kind of thing with seasonal adjustments.
Anyway, here’s the chart showing the split between retail sales and retail employment.