What Matters in Unemployment and Payrolls for Friday

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While the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) may be the ultimate barometer of economic growth, the reality is that the workforce is more interested in how stable and opportunistic the jobs market is. That sets up Friday’s Employment Situation report for July from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as the most important economic reading of this week.

24/7 Wall St. has been looking at numerous expectations and trends on the economy and the jobs front ahead of the BLS report. If ADP’s private sector payroll gains of 219,000 (versus 181,000 expected) represent a broader trend, then the nonfarm payrolls report should be another strong report.

The nonfarm payrolls report has the broadest following of all estimates. Dow Jones and Reuters are both calling for a consensus estimate of 190,000 on the broader nonfarm payrolls. The prior nonfarm payrolls report for June was up 213,000, and that is subject to revision.

Private sector payrolls, which should at least directionally look more like the ADP report, are predicted by Reuters to have risen by 189,000 in July. That private payrolls number, which will likely see a revision, was 202,000 for June.

The official unemployment rate is less followed by economists and the markets because there are so many nuances which can skew the number up or down by one-tenth or two-tenths of a percentage point. That number is expected to be 3.9% in the Dow Jones and in the Reuters consensus estimates. The official unemployment rate was 4.0% in June.

While the wages component rarely makes a financial market impact, this is perhaps the one dividing line that allows the nation to keep up with the wages picture. The June report was up 0.2% to $26.98 per hour on average with a 34.5-hour average workweek. It was just shown that wages have risen more than any point in the last ten years, but that is a period which also ended on June 30, and Friday’s report is geared entirely toward July outside of the BLS’s revisions for June.

 

It is always possible to get an unexpected number when it comes to economic reports. Those wild swings often get smoothed out when revisions occur.