Tuesday, April 2, 2019

A March Jobs Report preview

I have two thoughts ahead of the March Jobs Report that investors should consider. Let's start with the tactical picture of what Friday's reports might bring.

Recent jobs data has been distorted by the effects of the federal government shutdown, which can make the reported figures nonsensical. Now that the effects of the shutdown are mostly over, we can get a better idea of the overall trend.

One clue comes from the weekly initial jobless claims data, which is reported on a timely basis. As the chart below shows, the week of the February Jobs Report survey coincided with an unusually strong initial claims print, which may have contributed to the shocking miss in the February NFP report of 20K jobs. Initial claims for the March survey week weakened to a level consistent with January's. In light of the strong January NFP print of 304K jobs, which was later revised to 311K, this suggests that an in line or beat result for March headline NFP estimate of 175K.

Notwithstanding the tactical trading considerations of the March Jobs Report, a new development is likely to affect how the Fed views employment data, which could affect thinking on future policy.

The full post can be found here.

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