At the risk of droning on and on about those disappointing January payrolls numbers from the U.S. Labor Department on Friday morning, I found it fascinating to learn that disappointment is actually very common with these reports.
Bespoke Investment Group crunched numbers going back to 1998 and found that January payrolls numbers beat economists’ expectations just 33 per cent of the time.
Put another way, they usually disappoint. In fact, the last time the month’s numbers beat expectations was in 2003 – meaning that the month just extended its losing streak to eight years.
Just as interesting, January isn’t that unusual: There is no other month where non-farm payrolls beat expectations more than 50 per cent of the time. The lesson here? Don’t put too much faith in forecasts, and lower your expectations.