The median forecast of the 90 market economists polled by Bloomberg calls for payroll gains of 200,000 in March, entirely from job creation in the private sector. The low estimate is 150,000 and the high estimate is 275,000. The unemployment rate is expected to tick down to 6.6% from 6.7%.
Joe LaVorgna and Carl Riccadonna at Deutsche Bank, Brian Jones at Société Générale, and Toby Dayton at LinkUp are among the economists that have publicly forecasted 275,000.
“While our forecast of +275k appears aggressive at first glance, it actually reflects a return to trend job creation of approximately +175k (the six-month average is +177k) with a weather-related payback of roughly +100k,” said Deutsche Bank’s team.
Privately, there may be many more on the bullish end of the spectrum.
The so-called “whisper” estimate is speculated to be very high, largely due to an expected snapback from the unusually chilly winter.
Here’s Potomac Research Group’s Greg Valliere:
LOUD WHISPERS: The consensus for this morning’s jobs report is for a rise of 200,000 nonfarm payrolls, with the unemployment rate falling from 6.7% to 6.6%. But the “whisper numbers,” anticipating a snap-back from the terrible winter, are much higher; our friend Diane Swonk at Mesirow Financial thinks payrolls may rise by 240,000. We’ll go out on a limb . . .
JOBLESS RATE COULD BE CLOSE TO 6% BY FALL: Many economists now believe a gain of 100,000 jobs (or even a bit less) can take a tenth of a per cent off the unemployment rate. Moreover, it looks like the House will not agree to any extension of unemployment benefits, which means the jobless rate should fall further. Even if people re-enter the job market this spring as the economy improves, there’s a growing case for the unemployment rate falling to close to 6% by fall.
The implication of a higher whisper number is that a 200k print, which would be in-line with published expectations, would come off as a disappointment.
The BLS will publish the jobs numbers at 8:30 a.m. ET.