One reason today’s jobs number looked so horrible was dismal retail hiring in November.
The BLS expects retail hiring to be huge this month — thanks to the holiday season — and so its seasonal adjustments were very punitive to the number.
This is a point that TrimTabs made today: A lot of holiday hiring was pulled ahead into October this year, and this chart from Calculated Risk makes clear. October hiring (red bar) was WAY ahead of 2007, 2008, 2009, and then November hiring came in kind of mediocre.
Why might the hiring have been pulled upward?
Well one possibility is the early Chanukah, which started on Wednesday night.
That’s several weeks earlier than usual, and so it stands to reason that retailers, in anticipation of the earlier Chanukah started hiring earlier. Thus October was a lights-out number, and November was very weak, evening out.
It’s true that Jews are a tiny % of the population, but on the other hand, Jews have 8 nights to buy gifts for, and Jews are generally wealthier than the population as a whole, so this definitely seems like a possibility.
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