Tags: Zandi | jobs | report | Goolsbee

Moody's Zandi: Don't Pay Attention to Jobs Report Numbers

Friday, 10 Jan 2014 10:48 AM

By Dan Weil

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Friday's weak jobs report for December doesn't provide a true picture of the economy, says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics.

Non-farm payrolls gained only 74,000 last month, compared with a median forecast of 197,000 in Bloomberg's survey of economists. Payrolls were revised to 241,000 in November

"I wouldn't pay any attention at all to these numbers. They're not consistent with anything — GDP, the ISM survey, the ADP report," Zandi told CNBC.

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"Next month we'll get the benchmark revisions and they'll be revised up and revised away."

GDP grew 4.1 percent in the third quarter, and this week's ADP survey showed the economy added 238,000 private sector jobs in December.

"We've turned the corner," Zandi said. "GDP growth in the second half of the year is 4 percent."

University of Chicago economist Austan Goolsbee says the financial community overreacts to each month's employment news. "Last month we got a big number, and everyone said we've turned the corner. This one is probably too extreme," he told CNBC.

"We haven't fully turned the corner any more than we were down in the dumps," Goolsbee noted.

Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase, told Bloomberg the report "is a reminder that the [labor market] improvement is not going to be a straight line." He said weather probably played a big role in the weak December number.

Inclement weather kept 273,000 people from work last month. But even accounting for that, "it still looks pretty soft," especially in construction, Feroli says.

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