We are about to get some wild, seasonal gyrations to the jobs numbers, and I think you will be well advised to know about them in advance.
A large part of our economy is moving online more rapidly than most people and governments realize. According to ComScore, a marketing data research firm, online sales leapt by 15% to $35.3 billion during the last November-December holiday period, an all-time high.
I speak from a position of authority here as I happen to run one of the most successful financial sites on the Internet, which I kicked off four years ago with a $500 investment.
Much of this migration is being captured by FedEx and UPS, the nexus at which Internet commerce meets the real world. After all, virtual products require a real world delivery. This explains why the couriers are seeing a booming business in an otherwise flat economy. FedEx (FDX) hired 10,000 temporary workers to deal with the last Christmas surge in 2012, a gain of 18% over the same period the previous year. UPS added a stunning 55,000, a 10% increase.
Watch for the other shoe to drop. That will become apparent when that the newly hired become the newly fired, leading to a sudden and rapid deterioration of the jobs data. This could be the information the stock market and other risk assets need to put in a top for the year. The scary part is that this may happen sooner than you think.