The monthly jobs report from the BLS is always the biggest economic release of the month, and it gets tons of hype, but today’s report for March really may be a bigger deal than past ones.
First, the obvious reason. Around the end of last year and in the early part of this year we got a string of disappointments. Then last month the number came in roughly as expected. So right off the bat, it’s important that we don’t backslide, and at least plod on with mediocreness.
Second, the economic data hasn’t been that stellar for the last month. GDP estimates for Q1 have come way down, as weakness in housing and spending has been seen, not to mention flickers of weak data in areas like manufacturing. There are still plenty of signs that a recovery is intact, but… we’re on the edge of some kind of backslide.
And third, the end of QEII is coming into view, and the implications of how it ends or doesn’t end is at least perceived by the market to be a huge deal. As the labour market is of huge importance for the Fed, today’s number deals directly with this issue.
As for what’s expected, the consensus is for around 185K new jobs, 200K+ in the private sector, and a headline unemployment rate at 8.8%.