The Conference Board released its Help Wanted Online for January 2013. Link: Conf Board Help Wanted Online Report This is in sharp contrast with the 1st GDP report for 4Q2012 of -0.10% while the 3Q2012 was reported at 3.1%. Which one should we believe?
Economic data is always estimated and then refined in later months as more comprehensive information fills in the blanks. The economic data we have seen the past 4yrs has been nothing short of very positive for equities. GDP as a measure of the entire economy changes slowly over time, “snail like”, simply because it is a single number representing ~310million individuals. When we have a sudden change from the multi-year historical trend for any economic series , the best advice is to “Ignore it!!!” Yes, just ignore it because all of the other data which provides close-up views of the various parts of our economy is quite positive. Today’s 4Q2012 GDP report is simply well outside trend!
The report today of Help Wanted Online is a reliable indicator (again it is in the context of multiple indicators which show similar trends). To reach an all-time high since the inception of this series and to be solidly within the growth trend since May 2009 (see chart-it should be obvious to you) provides guidance that employment the next 9mos-12mos is very likely higher.
My advice is to simply ignore today’s GDP report and focus on all the other reports which form a context for a very positive period of economic activity lies dead ahead.