Friday is jobs day.
In a note Thursday, Goldman’s David Mericle forecast that employers added 220,000 jobs in March, down from 295,000 in February, and the unemployment rate stayed unchanged from February at 5.5%.
Mericle highlighted the one reason why the jobs report could beat expectations:
- Recent trend. Payroll gains have averaged 288k/293k/275k over the last 3/6/12 months, Hatzius notes. Moreso, the recent average is above the consensus forecast of 245,000 for March.
And here’s why the jobs report could be dismal:
- Initial jobless claims. The four-week moving average leading to the week in which the survey for the payroll data is conducted jumped to 305,000. And, energy-sector job cuts in Texas due to the oil crash haven’t helped. (The 4-week average of claims, however, fell to 285,500 on Thursday.)
- ADP report. At 189,000 the report on private payrolls missed expectations in March. Jobs in the goods sector and manufacturing fell. But the initial ADP payrolls data have not been a reliable forecast of the official numbers from the Labour Department.
- Manufacturing employment indicators. The employment components of the ISM manufacturing index and the Chicago PMI were flat. Also, regional Fed surveys from Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Dallas all pointed to flat employment; New York was the only exception with a rise.
- Job cuts. The monthly report from Challenger, Grey and Christmas have pointed to increased layoffs in the last two months, especially in the energy sector.
According to Bloomberg, Wall Street is expecting job gains of 2450,000 with the unemployment rate holding steady at 5.5%.