ADP Sets Muted Tone for Friday’s BLS Payrolls and Unemployment Report

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This Friday’s key report from the U.S. Department of Labor may contain some less aggressive growth metrics on the jobs front. The Employment Situation Report gives economists, investors, employers and workers a live snapshot of the U.S. labor market, and this report will cover the month of July.

Wednesday acted as a preview for the flat to soft directional bias for Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report after ADP released its national payrolls report for July. ADP payrolls grew by 178,000 in July. The July reading was originally represented as 158,000, but that was revised to 191,000.

24/7 Wall St. has tracked some tempered expectations happening in the labor market an in the inflation picture. These are not at levels that should alarm the markets, but they have been slower than the Federal Reserve may have hoped for to help justify its quest to raise interest rates.

ADP’s payroll gains were less than the Reuters estimate of 185,000. The Wall Street Journal had a consensus estimate of 180,000, and Bloomberg had a consensus estimate down at 173,000.

Whether ADP should be used as a pinpointed economic reading debatable, but what the markets usually use it for is a directional bias. If that is true then the BLS report this Friday should not have many official estimate changes but it would be more than surprising if the number blew out estimates to the upside.

The preliminary view from economists is that the markets should be braced for a less-strong gain in BLS payrolls. It is also possible that June revisions higher could further mute the expected gains in total nonfarm payrolls and in private sector payrolls.

24/7 Wall St. has updated the consensus estimates and views for Friday’s BLS report after the ADP report.

The 4.4% official unemployment rate is still expected to drop to 4.3% by Bloomberg and by Reuters alike.

June’s preliminary reading on nonfarm payrolls was 222,000. If ADP was correct, then the stronger number might be revised a tad higher, and that may actually make the July gains harder to match estimates.

Bloomberg had an estimate of 180,000 in nonfarm payrolls for July earlier this week, but that is now a consensus of 178,000. Reuters still shows a consensus estimate of 183,000 in nonfarm payrolls.

The preliminary June reading on private sector payrolls was 187,000, and this is figure also likely will be revised. Bloomberg still has its consensus estimate of 175,000 in private sector payrolls for July, and the prior Reuters consensus estimate of 180,000 private sector payrolls in July is now down to 178,000.

Both Bloomberg and Reuters see the July manufacturing payrolls coming in at 5,000. The preliminary June figure was a gain of 1,000, but that is also subject to being revised.

Bloomberg shows the monthly reading on average hourly earnings to be up 0.3% in July from a 0.2% gain in June. Bloomberg also sees July’s average hourly earnings up 2.5% on the annualized reading, and that would match the percentage gain seen in June.

The household survey by the BLS comes from roughly 60,000 households. Each month’s reports are subject to revisions in the forward months.

One last key report will be Thursday’s weekly jobless claims from the BLS. The weekly claims have remained quite low as employers are holding on to workers in an effort to not have to train replacements. Bloomberg has the weekly jobless claims for the week ending July 29 as 244,000 and Reuters is calling for 242,000. The prior week’s reading was up 10,000 to 244,000.

In last week’s weekly claims report, the BLS noted that the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending July 8 was 2,028,925, up by almost 157,000 from the previous week but down by about 169,000 from the same week in 2016.

The July 11 Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report showed that there were 5.666 million job openings in May, versus 5.967 million in April.

All in all, economists and investors should be looking for less aggressive payrolls growth on Friday. It is not expected that the numbers are about to tank, but it would be rather surprising to see a blowout number that is much stronger than economists have braced for.