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After a Strong Couple of Months, Pessimistic Expectations Rise for Tomorrow’s Job Report

The effects of bad weather, a stronger dollar, and cheaper oil all might lead to a disappointing jobs number this Friday, analysts suggest. Preliminary data has been fairly cool, increasing the likelihood of a slowdown in hiring. While we have seen a strong dollar and cheap oil for months already, their impact on jobs might carry somewhat of a lag. Furthermore, recent positive momentum in the size of the labor force could also put pressure on the unemployment rate. Altogether, markets might prove most attentive to that last point. If we see strong labor force growth, that might give the Fed some more time before they raise rates. Indeed, slack in general will receive plenty of attention. The picture below demonstrates the remaining gap between unemployment and underemployment, another gauge of the economy’s factor utilization.


  1. Should we be watching U-3 (“headline” unemployment) or U-6? What is the difference between the two? Are there other alternative measures of labor market performance? … that might be a good topic for you for a data presentation. Along with the BLS, look also at the Atlanta Fed blog listed on the right side of this page.

  2. sandersm15 sandersm15

    Initial job claims rose by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 320,000 in February. This was the largest number of jobless claims since May of last year, which leads to further pessimism about tomorrow’s report. Like you said Christian, many economists blame the recent trends in bad winter weather to contribute to this increase. However, economists are eager to see if claims will rebound in March.
    With that being said, most economists are not too concerned with the rise in jobless claims as this has been the third large spike in jobless claims since February. Moreover, the underlying characteristics of the current economy suggests that this trend is not indicative of the economy as a whole.

  3. More later on the jobs report … basically it’s maintained the trend of the past year, given noise in the data. It may be stronger … another month or two of data will help. In any case we remain 6.3 million jobs below my baby-boomer-retirement adjusted “normal” level of employment.

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