The non-farm payroll report (NFP) is an objective measure of the monthly economic performance of the United States of America. It is published on the first Friday of every month at 08:30 Eastern Time (usually the first Friday, sometimes the second Friday if the first is close to the start of the month).

Whereas other measures, such as GDP tend to be slanted by the administration (i.e. spun), the NFP provides hard figures directly from IRS returns. This tends to give a more objective picture of unemployment and the state of the US economy.

So, what's this non-farm business all about?

The agricultural workforce is very seasonal. Economic measures for jobless totals, etc. that include farm labourers will be skewed by the time of year. There are also other factors which cause variation, such as the weather.

The NFP specifically excludes farming from the report, and this results in figures which can more readily be compared month on month.

When America sneezes, Europe catches a cold

Although the NFP is a measure of the US economy, publication results in ripples in the money markets worldwide, across all major currencies.

At the time of noding this, the US is in an election year, and both Bush and Kerry have been making campaign speeches, each attacking the other. Today's NFP may well give an indicator as to which one has got it right about the economy.

This is a node your day job node.

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