Why the Labor Department Unemployment Report Could Rock Markets on Friday

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This may be right after Labor Day, but the economic reports will be flowing heavily this week and peaking with the U.S. Labor Department report on the employment situation on Friday. With the recent volatility and capital outflows we have seen, Friday’s unemployment report could truly rock the markets higher or could take back all of the recovery gains.

As of Tuesday, Bloomberg is calling for unemployment to remain static at 7.4%. The nonfarm payrolls are expected to be up by 175,000 and the private sector payrolls are expected to be up by 178,000. Be advised that the higher-end of both ranges is 234,000 on the total payrolls and 230,000 on the private sector payrolls.

We also will get to see a lot of pre-employment report data from other sources ahead of the report. Gallup releases its Jobs Creation Index on Wednesday morning, followed by the Challenger Job Cuts Report and the ADP employment report on Thursday. Also due on Thursday is the report on weekly jobless claims from the Labor Department. The consensus Bloomberg estimates are likely to change marginally but currently are as follows:

  • Gallup and ADP (not covered)
  • ADP est. 177,000, with range of 150,000 to 225,000
  • Weekly jobless claims 330,000, with a range of 325,000 to 335,000

Another jobs report will be out on nonfarm productivity and unit labor costs, but this has no real effect on official labor Department data as this is from the second quarter. That being said, the estimates are 1.8% higher on productivity and 0.7% higher on labor costs.

Markit already signaled that manufacturing jobs trends was the second month of job creation, while the ISM report on manufacturing showed that manufacturing jobs growth was slower. Those were both covering only the manufacturing sector reports.

Also note that the S&P 500 is currently just under 1,650 and the DJIA is right at 14,900 again. The 10-year Treasury yield is 2.87% and the 30-year Treasury yield is right at 3.80%. The low for the DJIA was 14,762.35 last week, versus a high of 15,049.98 at the start of last week.

As a reminder, pending military action in Syria and unrest potentially hang in the balance as well. And remember that estimates may formally or unofficially change going into ADP or other pre-employment reports.