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

Author

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  • Alan B. Krueger

    (Princeton University and NBER)

  • Kenneth N. Fortson

    (Princeton University)

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 1990s; indeed, in the late 1990s and early 2000s the bond markets hardly reacted to unexpected employment news. For the time period as a whole, an unexpected increase of 200,000 jobs is associated with about a 6 basis point increase in the interest rate on 30-year Treasury bonds, and an 8 basis point increase in the interest rate on three-month bills, all else equal. Additionally, unexpected changes in the unemployment rate and revisions to past months' employment estimates have statistically insig-nificant effects on long-term interest rates. (JEL: G14, J23) Copyright (c) 2003 The European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan B. Krueger & Kenneth N. Fortson, 2003. "Do Markets Respond More to More Reliable Labor Market Data? A Test of Market Rationality," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 931-957, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:1:y:2003:i:4:p:931-957
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    Cited by:

    1. Norbert Funke & Akimi Matsuda, 2006. "Macroeconomic News and Stock Returns in the United States and Germany," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 7(2), pages 189-210, May.
    2. Jones, Charles M. & Lamont, Owen & Lumsdaine, Robin L., 1998. "Macroeconomic news and bond market volatility," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 315-337, March.
    3. Radu LUPU & Alexandra MATEESCU & Mihai MITRACHE, 2017. "Analysis of Macroeconomic Events Impact Using the Event Study Methodology," Hyperion Economic Journal, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Hyperion University of Bucharest, Romania, vol. 5(2), pages 3-13, June.
    4. 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.
    5. Hautsch, Nikolaus & Hess, Dieter & Müller, Christoph, 2012. "Price adjustment to news with uncertain precision," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 337-355.
    6. 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.
    7. Gilbert, Thomas, 2011. "Information aggregation around macroeconomic announcements: Revisions matter," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 114-131, July.
    8. Tomaz Cajner & Leland D. Crane & Ryan A. Decker & Adrian Hamins-Puertolas & Christopher Kurz, 2019. "Improving the Accuracy of Economic Measurement with Multiple Data Sources: The Case of Payroll Employment Data," NBER Chapters, in: Big Data for Twenty-First Century Economic Statistics, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Neumann, Todd C. & Fishback, Price V. & Kantor, Shawn, 2010. "The Dynamics of Relief Spending and the Private Urban Labor Market During the New Deal," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 195-220, March.
    10. Andrew Phiri, 2017. "The Unemployment-Stock Market Relationship in South Africa: Evidence from Symmetric and Asymmetric Cointegration Models," Managing Global Transitions, University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper, vol. 15(3 (Fall)), pages 231-254.
    11. Michael J. Fleming & Eli M. Remolona, 1997. "What moves the bond market?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 3(Dec), pages 31-50.
    12. Allan W. Gregory & Hui Zhu, 2014. "Testing the value of lead information in forecasting monthly changes in employment from the Bureau of Labor Statistics," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(7), pages 505-514, April.
    13. 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, April.
    14. Kuruppuarachchi, Duminda & Premachandra, I.M., 2016. "Information spillover dynamics of the energy futures market sector: A novel common factor approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 277-294.
    15. Douch, Mohamed & Bouaddi, Mohammed, 2010. "EQUITY Premium Puzzle in a Data-Rich Environment," MPRA Paper 29440, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. Mr. Norbert Funke & Mr. Akimi Matsuda, 2002. "Macroeconomic News and Stock Returns in the United States and Germany," IMF Working Papers 2002/239, International Monetary Fund.
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
    21. Brenner, Menachem & Pasquariello, Paolo & Subrahmanyam, Marti, 2009. "On the Volatility and Comovement of U.S. Financial Markets around Macroeconomic News Announcements," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(6), pages 1265-1289, December.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution

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