You just can?t keep America down. That is the overwhelming message from Friday?s blockbuster October nonfarm payroll showing that 204,000 jobs were added, double the industry forecasts. The headline unemployment rate ratcheted back up from 7.2% to 7.3%, the first gain in many months.
August and September were revised up by an eye popping 60,000 jobs. October private sector job growth came in at a stunning 212,000. Apparently, the prospect of an imminent default by the US government prompted many corporate managers to rush out and hire! Go figure.
Without the Washington shutdown we probably would have seen a 300,000 print. It appears that 223,000 federal workers were temporarily laid off, but later received back pay, so they weren?t counted as jobless.
Leisure and hospitality was up an unbelievable 53,000. Retail added 44,000. Professional and technical services tacked on 21,000. Health care increased by 12,000 jobs, anticipating an onslaught of 30 million new customers with government guaranteed payments, thanks to Obamacare.
It confirms what I have been arguing since the summer, that the US economy is far stronger than anyone suspects, and that we are accelerating with an upward trajectory. This is the recurring theme that I get from speaking to dozens of CEO?s every month, whose views on the health of their own business usually beat the government data releases by 3-6 months. Believe me, I don?t talk to these guys because they wear snappy suits.
Of course, the initial market reaction was negative, since the good news is seen as advancing the Federal Reserve?s tapering of its quantitative easing program. This certainly was the read by the stock market on Thursday, when a surprise interest cut in the Euro and a blistering 2.8% Q3 GDP report triggered a 150 sell off in the Dow. Gold took it on the nose again, dropping $25. But we made it all back, and more, the next day, disproving this analysis, for everything, except gold.
Bonds really took it in the keister, the (TLT) dropping two and a half full points, bumping ten year Treasury yield up from 2.60% to 2.77%, one of the most extreme pops of the year in the fixed income markets. I came within a hair?s breadth of doubling my bond shorts the previous day, but decided to wait for the payroll report. This time, discretion was not the better part of valor.
If anyone had any doubts about the extreme, but underestimated strength of the economy, better take a look at the chart below of growth of the broader monetary aggregates. We are running at a nearly white hot 40% YOY growth rate.
This reflects a huge increase that is occurring in the velocity of money, a number that almost no one tracks, in addition to the Federal Reserve?s never ending monetary expansion. This is because more people everywhere are doing more business with each other. Despite what you hear in the media, confidence is rocketing. This eventually has to feed into higher reported GDP growth rates and will justify ever-higher share prices.
How many individual investors believe this? Almost no one. This year, $114 billion has trickled back into equity mutual funds. That is only a dent in the $600 billion this group tore out of equity mutual funds over the last five years. That fact alone should be worth another 25% of upside in the indexes.
For more depth on the rapidly evolving fundamentals in the economy, click here for my recent piece on ?The Rising Risk of a Market Melt Up?.