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

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  • Alan 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 Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. in its series Working Papers with number 746.

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Date of creation: Sep 1996
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Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:dsp017s75dc38p

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Keywords: interest rates; employment rational;

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Saunders, Edward M, Jr, 1993. "Stock Prices and Wall Street Weather," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1337-45, December.
  5. Douglas K. Pearce & V. Vance Roley, 1985. "Stock Prices and Economic News," NBER Working Papers 1296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  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. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Ramchander, Sanjay & Simpson, Marc W. & Chaudhry, Mukesh K., 2005. "The influence of macroeconomic news on term and quality spreads," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 84-102, February.
  3. Moura, Marcelo L. & Gaião, Rafael L., 2014. "Impact of macroeconomic surprises on the Brazilian yield curve and expected inflation," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 114-144.
  4. Hautsch, Nikolaus & Hess, Dieter & Müller, Christoph, 2011. "Price adjustment to news with uncertain precision," CFR Working Papers 08-04 [rev.], University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
  5. Douch, Mohamed & Bouaddi, Mohammed, 2010. "EQUITY Premium Puzzle in a Data-Rich Environment," MPRA Paper 29440, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Norbert Funke & Akimi Matsuda, 2002. "Macroeconomic News and Stock Returns in the United States and Germany," IMF Working Papers 02/239, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Engle, Robert F, 1998. "Macroeconomic Announcements and Volatility of Treasury Futures," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt7rd4g3bk, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  8. John H. Boyd & Jian Hu & Ravi Jagannathan, 2005. "The Stock Market's Reaction to Unemployment News: Why Bad News Is Usually Good for Stocks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 649-672, 04.
  9. 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.
  10. Michael J. Fleming & Eli M. Remolona, 1997. "What moves the bond market?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 31-50.
  11. 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.
  12. Gilbert, Thomas, 2011. "Information aggregation around macroeconomic announcements: Revisions matter," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 114-131, July.

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