At 8:30 AM ET today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the change in nonfarm payrolls for the month of September.
A consensus survey of economists polled by Bloomberg revealed an expectation of 115K new jobs added last month, up from 96K last month.
Mitt Romney generated some much-needed momentum in the 2012 presidential race this week, owing to a strong performance in Wednesday night's presidential debate with incumbent candidate Barack Obama.
A stronger than expected reading on the health of the labor force from Friday's NFP report has the potential to stymie that momentum at a key point in the race, a mere month ahead of the election.
On the other hand, a bad reading could give Romney some more ammo to use against Obama in the final month of the campaign.
The figures will be the latest read on employment trends in what has been a disappointing 2012 so far on the labor front, which can be seen in the chart below:
SocGen economist Brian Jones is not excited for the release. In a note to clients this morning entitled Looking ahead to yet another lacklustre US jobs report, Jones says "Market participants probably will have to check their screens twice on Friday to make sure that they are in fact looking at the results of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) September survey."
In other words, Jones expects little change from last month – he's forecasting a 93K reading tomorrow, slightly down from the August number.
However, Jones thinks the headline unemployment rate will tick down:
Meanwhile, the civilian unemployment rate is projected to move one tick lower to 8.0% – the lowest reading since the beginning of 2009 – but the forecast dip once again likely will be attributable to jobless persons opting out of the labour force. Total hours worked at private establishments probably expanded marginally, but merely ended Q3 at the June level. With retail price increases expected to eclipse nominal earnings gains, we expect little fuel for consumer spending from the BLS’ report. Those hoping for labour-market fireworks ahead of the 6 November national elections will have to look elsewhere.
Credit Suisse economists agree, saying they expect a 95K reading tomorrow, but they think the headline unemployment rate will tick up:
The downshift in economic growth in the first half of this year fits with the lack of progress in lowering unemployment further in recent months. We expect the unemployment rate to edge up to 8.2% in September, staying in the 8.1%-8.3% range that has been in place since January.
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