It's jobs week in America.
And the stakes are much higher than usual.
At 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will publish the June employment situation report, aka the jobs report.
Nonfarm payrolls: +165k
Private payrolls: +175k
Unemployment rate: 7.5%
While most people are hoping for good news out of the jobs report, economists and market experts seem to be in consensus that they want a "goldilocks" outcome. In other words, they want a good report, but not one that's so good that it would encourage the Fed to pull the plug on any of its stimulus programs.
What The Fed Said
You see, at its June Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, the Fed told us it expected the unemployment rate to gravitate toward the 7.2% to 7.3% range this year and the 6.5% to 6.8% range in 2014.
And with that forecast in mind, here's what Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said that got economists and investors around the world all riled up:
"If the incoming data are broadly consistent with this forecast, the Committee currently anticipates that it would be appropriate to moderate the monthly pace of purchases later this year; and if the subsequent data remain broadly aligned with our current expectations for the economy, we would continue to reduce the pace of purchases in measured steps through the first half of next year, ending purchases around midyear."
Bernanke's talking about tapering, or gradually reducing its monthly purchases of $85 billion worth of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, which has boosted credit market liquidity and kept long-term interest rates low around the world.
"[M]arkets and the Fed are now even more highly dependent on sustained evidence that the real economy is indeed on a solid improving trends, including a consequential rise in actual and expected nominal GDP growth," said PIMCO's Mohamed El-Erian. "With that, the focus will now shift firmly to the forthcoming June jobs report; and it will be even more intensive than usual."
What The Economists Are Saying
Here's what Wall Street's top economists are saying about Friday's report:
- Deutsche Bank's Joe LaVorgna (+145k) : "We are below consensus on June nonfarm payrolls because there has been a tendency for the data to gravitate toward +145k. This has been both the three- and 12-month average rates of change if we use the initially reported figures. Moreover, this is also the high end of what June payrolls have printed going back to 2000—the highest initially reported June value was +146k in 2005."
- UBS's Kevin Cummins (+155k) : "Government furloughs associated with Federal sequester should not have an impact on the payroll report. In the establishment survey, people are counted as employed if they work at any time during the payroll survey period. Nor should any sequester-related furloughs impact the workweek measure because the workweek is limited to private industries."
- Societe Generale's Brian Jones (+175k) : "While an 8,000 rise to 349,000 in the mean number of persons filing new jobless claims over the four weeks heading into the June establishment survey hints at a modest pick-up in pink slipping, a reported 101,000 reduction in persons on all state and federal unemployment insurance benefit rolls implies stronger hiring between canvasses.
- Capital Economics' Paul Dales (+150k) : "The wildcard, as is always the case in June, is whether more or fewer school leavers than normal entered the ranks of the employed rather than the unemployed."
- Wells Fargo's John Silvia (+153k) : "Some of the largest employment gains have been in lower-paying industries, such as administrative and waste services, which have contributed to modest wage growth. On average, the economy has been adding just short of 190,000 jobs each month this year, although February’s large reading overstates the general trend."
- Goldman Sachs, Jan Hatzius (+150k) : "Our forecasts for the US dataset to be released this week will likely be mixed for rates... we think that payrolls will likely disappoint market expectations."
- Morgan Stanley's Vincent Reinhart (+165k) : "We expect the Employment Report to reflect the slight deterioration in jobless claims between mid-May and mid-June. So, we see nonfarm payrolls increasing only 165,000 in June (vs. 175,000 in May). However, the unemployment rate should decrease to 7.5% as the job growth we’re expecting should outpace the uptick in the participation rate."
- High Frequency Economics' Jim O'Sullivan (+175k) : "That said, a rise in payrolls of 160K-to-170K or more would likely encourage expectations for tapering, while a number below 160K would discourage them."
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