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The Timestamps Begin: "The Impact Of The Blizzard On Employment Will Be Near Zero"

Just because we enjoy collecting snippets of soundbites and information, especially when the originators of said soundbites do a U-turn a few weeks later, here are the first two "timestamps" regarding the impact of what may be the biggest blizzard (and certainly one of the Top 5) in New York city history.

First, from Stone McCarthy:

I have been getting a few inquiries as to how the impending snowstorm might impact on the January or February employment data.

 

Based on the timing of the storm I suspect the impact on the January employment data will be near zero. Conceivably, the hours worked data could be marginally influenced for those workers that miss some work in the days immediately ahead, but such would only show up for those workers who are paid on a monthly basis.

 

The reference period for the payroll or establishment data is the pay-period that includes the 12th of the month. Most workers are paid on a weekly, biweekly or semi-monthly basis. For these workers the late month snowstorm should be largely irrelevant. But, for the small percentage of workers who are paid monthly there could be some minor impact.

 

For the household survey the reference period is the week (as opposed to pay-period) that bridges the 12th of the month. As such impending storm should have zero impact on the January household data.

 

As for the impact on the February payroll and household employment data we wouldn't expect much of an impact. The storm related dislocations would have to reach well into February to have a noticeable impact on the February data.

Which is great: after all that's what seasonal adjustments are for, right? To adjust for things like the seasons.

And second, from everyone's favorite groundhog nemesis:

Given its late month timing, winter storm

is unlikely to have a big impact on the economic data.

— Joseph A. LaVorgna (@Lavorgnanomics)

Because sometimes it's good to know where one stands, just in case we get a repeat of this:

The best news, of course, is that unlike last year, economists will not use such an unprecedented atmospheric phenomenon as snow in the winter, as justification for a $100 billion haircut to annualized GDP. Right?