Goldman Sachs can't identify a single reason why Friday's jobs report will be great

Jobs day is just a few hours away.

Economists forecast that on Friday morning, the Labour Department will say the US economy added 190,000 jobs in January according to Bloomberg: the slowest pace in four months.

Goldman Sachs’ Jan Hatzius and team are expecting an even lower print, at 170,000, which they bumped down from 190,000 after data releases this week.

They expect the unemployment rate to stay unchanged at 5%, although they say it could drop to 4.9% because of a decline in the labour participation rate.

In a note previewing the jobs report Thursday, Hatzius listed five things arguing for a weaker jobs report. But unlike many prior previews, there was none for why the jobs report could be stronger than consensus.

Here are the five reasons why Goldman thinks the jobs report could stink:

  • Jobless claims have been trending higher. The four-week average of claims heading into the payrolls reference week for the jobs report climbed to 285,000 in January from 271,000 in December.
  • The employment components of key manufacturing surveys worsened.
  • Employment among couriers and messengers fell an estimated 10,000 to 20,000, reflecting challenges they’re facing while adjusting to the rise in online holiday shopping.
  • Winter storm Jonas, the historic blizzard that swallowed the Northeast, likely had a small impact.
  • The Conference Board’s labour differential, which measures the share of people saying jobs are easy to find versus those saying they’re scarce, fell by 0.3 points to 0.6 in January.

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