The good news is that expectations for job growth this Friday are really, really low—even if the official estimates (160,000 and 8.2%) are still relatively high and unmoved in the wake of other economic clunkers this week. While there's always a chance for an upside surprise, we have every indication to believe that the number will be light.
"If it's a 100k, you know there's pressure on the Fed to, kind of, ante up—speak up," says Joe Quinlan, chief market strategist at U.S. Trust, in the attached video. "We'll be talking about a double-dip again.''
Since the March report of 120,000 that was released in early April, we have had a stream of warning shots suggesting that the pace of job creation is slowing down. Wednesday's ADP Private Payroll Data missed the mark by a whopping 30%, or 50,000 jobs, coming in at just 119,000.
Like most investors, Quinlan says it's ''hard to go long here'' or buy stocks ahead of such a momentous data-point, but if forced to invest, he espouses a preference for large cap multi-national stocks that have been around for decades. He's also worried that there could be a "backlash against corporate America for not hiring," given the well-established size of their hordes of cash and record profitability.
Of course, the monthly jobs number has implications far beyond the world of finance and the Fed. Since it is, arguably, the most important economic barometer, it also moves the needle on consumer sentiment gauges, which in turn impacts a myriad of spending decisions, from hotels to high heels to houses. At the same time, Quinlan says the political effect is off the charts too, especially headline unemployment rate, which has been trending downward lately and is forecast to stay steady at 8.2%.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its April employment data in Washington D.C. at 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday, May 4.