The Bureau of Labour Statistics will release the March jobs report at 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday.
The strong private-employment report from staffing giant ADP has jolted confidence that the official jobs report will also show solid hiring. Employers added 263,000 jobs in March, ADP Research Institute said on Wednesday.
Here are Wall Street’s forecasts for the jobs report, via Bloomberg:
- Nonfarm payrolls: +180,000
- Unemployment rate: 4.7%
- Average hourly earnings month-on-month: +0.2%
- Average hourly earnings year-on-year: +2.7%
- Average weekly hours worked: 34.4
A few industries bear close attention in this jobs report.
Retail hiring recently slowed as companies were expected to close up to 3,500 stores in early 2017. Retail trade lost 26,000 jobs in February, with the majority of cuts coming from department stores that sell everything from furniture to vegetables. Meanwhile, online retailers, the big competitor to physical stores, gained 3,200 jobs.
Manufacturing had a solid February, adding 28,000 jobs which were attributed to unusually warm weather that increased demand for outdoor work in sectors like construction and mining.
“Given the unusually warm winter, with relatively little snow in January and February, additions to employment in the construction and accommodation & food services sectors could have been temporarily elevated in those months, portending to some negative payback in March,” said Lewis Alexander, Nomura’s chief US economist, in a preview.
The larger services sector may also have experienced a pullback after the Institute of Supply Management’s survey of purchasing managers suggested slower hiring, Alexander said. Some managers were uncertain about the impact of President Donald Trump’s immigration, health care, and trade.
More broadly speaking, economists would be looking for more improvement in labour-force participation, which has stalled over the last three years. The share of prime-age workers — aged 25 and 54 — who joined the labour force rose to the highest level in five years in February.
More of the same
The forecasts show that economists are expecting more of the same: Hiring is steady but not accelerating, the unemployment rate is at a post-recession low, and worker shortages are prompting modest wage hikes.
If they are correct, it would make this jobs report less consequential than some recent ones — at least from a monetary policy perspective. Last month, for example, the Federal Reserve’s rate hike was in view.
“Given we’ve been near full employment for a while now, I think that’s why there are some folks that think this number won’t be as big,” said Myles Clouston, senior director at Nasdaq Advisory Services. “The Fed still seems to be on course.”
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