Scott Barber

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Chart of the day – U.S. jobs report

February 3, 2012

The stabilization of the U.S. economy and labour market during the final months of last year has been one of the main reasons behind the rebound in global financial markets in 2012. Friday’s release of the U.S. January employment report, as ever, will be a critical weather vane. And, like most of the economic and financial world at the moment, every bright spot appears matched by a cloud.

Here are four charts to watch in today’s jobs report (click on chart to refresh after release), the first two have been looking more positive, unemployment is expected to remain at 8.5% and payrolls expected to be 150,000 and both have seen positive surprises in recent months. The bottom two charts paint a less rosy picture, the participation rate (the proportion of the population in the labour force) has been fallen to multi-year lows while the average duration of unemployment is close to the highest on record.