Full Payrolls and Unemployment Preview, Plus Six Pre-Jobs Indicators to Watch

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This Friday will bring the highly anticipated Employment Situation report from the U.S. Department of Labor. Investors get many previews of what the unemployment and payrolls reports look like, but the official Labor Department report is the most widely followed and is the one on which formal statistics are based.

24/7 Wall St. has highlighted each component of the official Employment Situation report, as well as offered up other previews from releases covering the pre-jobs reports. Several of these can be market-moving reports, and they can greatly alter the formal expectations for the Labor Department report on Friday.

Bloomberg has the consensus estimates at 6.6% for the official unemployment rate, down 0.1% from February’s preliminary report. Bloomberg also has the payrolls expectations all the way up at 206,000 for nonfarm payrolls and 215,000 from private sector payrolls. Be advised that the highest economist targets are 275,000 in nonfarm payrolls and 270,000 from the private sector.

February’s numbers were 175,000 in nonfarm payrolls and 162,000 in private sector payrolls.

On Tuesday morning we got the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reading on manufacturing for March. The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) report said on the employment component, “Employment grew for the ninth consecutive month, but at a slower rate by 1.2 percentage points, registering 51.1 percent compared to February’s reading of 52.3 percent.”

Other key readings that can act as a precursor to the official report due on Friday include the following.

  • ADP Employment Report (March) is due Wednesday morning. Bloomberg has a consensus of 193,000, versus 139,000 in February.
  • TrimTabs reports its payrolls for March on Wednesday morning, based on daily withholding tax inflows into the U.S. Treasury. There are no estimates.
  • Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index (March) due Wednesday morning. There are no estimates.
  • Challenger Job-Cuts Report (March) is due Thursday morning. There are no estimates.
  • Weekly Jobless Claims from Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for last week is due Thursday morning. Bloomberg’s consensus is 320,000, versus 311,000 the previous week.
  • ISM Non-Manufacturing Index is due Thursday, with a focus on service-sector jobs trends. There is no estimate on the employment component.

What should stand out the most ahead of the report is that Fed Chair Janet Yellen seems to have back-stepped on her exact timing of when rates would have to rise. She is still in the getting-to-know-you phase of her tenure, and her speech this week seems to have quantified that the 6.5% unemployment threshold has wiggle room because of how cautious she was on the U.S. jobs market. Yellen even said it still feels like a recession to many.

With the S&P 500 hitting all-time intraday highs and the Dow Jones Industrial Average just shy of all-time highs on Tuesday, stock market investors will be watching closely.

Something else to consider is that the bond market now no longer has daily reminders about potential escalated conflict with Russia over Crimea to worry about. If there is a strong snapback in March employment, then interest rates on the long-end of the curve could climb rapidly. The 2.75% yield on the 10-year Treasury could easily move back toward 3.00% again. Also, the 30-year Treasury yield of 3.60% could begin its move back up to 4.00% again.