The great thing about jobs report week is that we can talk all week about how it’s the only thing that matter, and that everything is all just a big undercard while we wait for the main event.
Economists expect a reading of 190,000 jobs gained when the BLS reports nonfarm payrolls this Friday.
But although such a reading might constitute something resembling real job growth, it might not convince investors that it indicates real job creation.
As Calculated Risk reminds, the number is distorted by two factors: Census hiring (real, but temporary) and the punk February weather, which may have depressed hiring and pushed it forward.
Meanwhile, some analysts see us missing the 190K consensus.
Here’s Wells Fargo which sees only 177K:
For March, we are finally expecting to see a positive net non-farm
payroll print. The payroll report for February was encouraging in
this regard: it revealed only a modest 36,000 net job loss in a
month plagued by winter storms, suggesting the U.S. economy is on
the verge of positive employment growth. A strong monthly boost
from Census Bureau hiring should be the catalyst that finally
pushes the payroll change into positive territory. The
unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 9.7 per cent,
though re-entering job seekers could still push the unemployment
rate slightly higher in the months to come. Look for additional
gains in working hours and hourly earnings to confirm the firmer
labour market tone. Jobless claims remain stubbornly high, pointing
to a weak underlying trend in private employment growth, and
consumer confidence stumbled in light of labour market uncertainty.
Of course… for investors addicted to cheap money, none of this may apply. You may actually want a weak reading.