Daniel Gross

Morning Reading: The Employment Situation

What to watch, courtesy of Yahoo! Finance's Elizabeth Trotta:

Good morning!

U.S. futures are hinting at losses at the open ahead of the latest round of jobs data and as investors continue to wrestle with Europe fears. The euro hit a fresh 15-month low against the dollar Thursday as European debt concerns offset some optimism around economic data in the U.S. [See: Euro Hit As Investors Fret Over Europe's Banks]

To kick off the reports, consulting firm Challenger Gray and Christmas reported that planned layoffs were down for December but up 14% in 2011. [See: Challenger Report: Planned Cuts up 14% in 2011]

Later this morning, payroll processing company ADP will provide a look at private sector employment and the government will release its weekly jobless claims figures. Those reports come ahead of what is typically the most highly anticipated data of the month, the monthly jobs report for December, which will become available Friday morning. Economists expect the economy will have added about 170,000 jobs and the unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a percentage point to 8.7%, according to estimates provided by Briefing.com.

Adding some gloom to the jobs picture, Pepsi is reportedly considering laying off as many as 4,000 employees and reducing pension contributions. [See: Pepsi Mulls 4,000 Jobs Cuts: Report]

Outside of jobs, mortgage rates, crude oil inventories and the ISM Services Index are also expected midmorning.

Eastman Kodak will continue to be in focus after reports Wednesday that it is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection.

Also in corporate news, Costco just missed Wall Street expectations with a 7% rise in same store sales (stores open at least a year) in December. [See: Costco Key Revenue Figure Rises 7% in December]

Economic Data:

7:30 Challenger Job Cuts: Prior -12.8%

8:15 ADP Private Sector Employment Change: Prior 206K

8:30 Jobless Claims: Prior 381K

10  ISM Services Index: Prior 52

10  Mortgage Rates

11 Crude Inventories

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