"The blizzard that blanketed the East Coast during the February employment survey week probably caused a sharp decline in payrolls for the month," wrote Peter D'Antonio, an economist for Citigroup Global Market, who was the MarketWatch forecaster of the month for January.Economists predict that the storms could have an especially tremendous impact on the jobs data because they occurred during the reporting week:
"The underlying fundamentals are improving gradually," D'Antonio said. "An excessive weather-driven decline will be reversed in March."
The storms struck during the survey week. Each month, the government asks businesses how many workers were on the payroll for the pay period that contains the 12th of the month. They are asked about hours worked, and how much workers were paid.Typically, however, the data rebound after bad weather:
In the past, major storms that hit during the survey week have had a major impact on employment, only to see a reversal the next month. Economist Joe LaVorgna of Deutsche Bank figures a snow storm in the survey week lowers payrolls by an average of 90,000 compared with the trend line.Conservative Bloggers Mock Linkage Between Snow and Jobs
In the storm that seems most comparable, the Blizzard of 1996, payrolls fell by 19,000 in January, and then rebounded by 434,000 in February. Average hours fell by 1.2%, the fourth largest decline on record. The three largest recorded declines in hours worked were also due to severe winter storms.
Despite the fact that independent economic forecasters predict that the snow will impact the forthcoming jobs data, some conservative bloggers are mocking this idea. Responding to comments on this subject by White House Economic Adviser Larry Summers, some conservatives are expressing their disbelief.
So far, none of the conservative responses mentions the MarketWatch article -- which does not mention Summers. But I guess that makes sense, if you are trying to turn this into a partisan issue.