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Do Markets Respond More to More Reliable Labor Market Data? A Test of Market Rationality

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  • Alan B. Krueger

Abstract

Since 1979, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has nearly quadrupled the size of the sample used to estimate monthly employment changes. Although first-reported employment estimates are still noisy, the magnitude of sampling variability has declined in proportion to the increase in the sample size. A model of rational Bayesian updating predicts that investors would assign more weight to the BLS employment survey as it became more precise. However, a regression analysis of changes in interest rates on the day the employment data are released finds no evidence that the bond market's reaction to employment news intensified in the late 1980s or early 1990s. For the time period as a whole, an unexpected increase of 200,000 jobs is associated with an 8 basis point increase in the interest rate on 30 year Treasury bonds, and a 9 basis point increase in the interest rate on 3 month bills, all else equal. Additionally, announced hourly wage increases are associated with higher long-term interest rates rate and revisions to past months' employment estimates have a statistically insignificant effect on long-term interest rates.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5769.

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Date of creation: Sep 1996
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5769

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  1. Pearce, Douglas K & Roley, V Vance, 1985. "Stock Prices and Economic News," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(1), pages 49-67, January.
  2. Shiller, Robert J, 1979. "The Volatility of Long-Term Interest Rates and Expectations Models of the Term Structure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1190-1219, December.
  3. Schwert, G William, 1981. "The Adjustment of Stock Prices to Information about Inflation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(1), pages 15-29, March.
  4. McQueen, Grant & Roley, V Vance, 1993. "Stock Prices, News, and Business Conditions," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(3), pages 683-707.
  5. John H. Boyd & Ravi Jagannathan & Jian Hu, 2001. "The Stock Market's Reaction to Unemployment News: Why Bad News is Usually Good for Stocks," NBER Working Papers 8092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Saunders, Edward M, Jr, 1993. "Stock Prices and Wall Street Weather," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1337-45, December.
  7. Charles M. Jones & Owen Lamont & Robin Lumsdaine, 1996. "Public Information and the Persistence of Bond Market Volatility," NBER Working Papers 5446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "News or Noise? An Analysis of GNP Revisions," NBER Working Papers 1939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Hardouvelis, Gikas A., 1988. "Economic news, exchange rates and interest rates," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 23-35, March.
  10. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  11. De Bondt, Werner F M & Thaler, Richard, 1985. " Does the Stock Market Overreact?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 793-805, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Gilbert, Thomas, 2011. "Information aggregation around macroeconomic announcements: Revisions matter," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 114-131, July.
  2. Michael J. Fleming & Eli M. Remolona, 1997. "What moves the bond market?," Research Paper 9706, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  3. Nikolaus Hautsch & Dieter Hess & Christoph Müller, 2008. "Price Adjustment to News with Uncertain Precision," FRU Working Papers 2008/01, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Finance Research Unit.
  4. John H. Boyd & Ravi Jagannathan & Jian Hu, 2001. "The Stock Market's Reaction to Unemployment News: Why Bad News is Usually Good for Stocks," NBER Working Papers 8092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Chen, Qi & Francis, Jennifer & Jiang, Wei, 2005. "Investor learning about analyst predictive ability," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 3-24, February.
  6. Hess, Dieter E., 2003. "Determinants of the relative price impact of unanticipated information in US macroeconomic releases," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 46, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
  7. Laakkonen, Helinä & Lanne, Markku, 2009. "The Relevance of Accuracy for the Impact of Macroeconomic News on Volatility," MPRA Paper 23718, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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