Real-time market based signals
I have always been an advocate of looking at real-time market based signals instead of backward looking economic indicators for top-down macro analysis. So here is another way of thinking of the employment situation in the US.
Here are some charts of temp agencies and headhunters relative to the S&P 500. There aren't a lot of publicly listed companies but these charts give us a good idea of market expectations at a bottom-up level. Consider Manpower, which staged a relative rally in late November but broke down again. The chart is not a pretty picture:
The relative chart of Kelly Services tells a similar story:
Here is the relative chart of Heidrick & Struggles. While HSII has rallied somewhat in May, it remains in a relative downtrend.
It's the same story with Korn Ferry:
Regardless of what the NFP report said about employment gains, the market believes that employment is still weak. Get the picture?