The Unimportant Jobs Report

Friday’s jobs report will be messy and easily forgotten. Traders will go through the motions of reacting, but the numbers will have no staying power.

 
 

Weekly jobless claims fell from 272,000 to 260,000 as elevated claims from the hurricanes begin to work back toward normal. The Commerce Department will release the factory orders report Thursday, and solid gains are expected. 

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Friday’s jobs report is probably the least important jobs report in a long time. The economists’ consensus guess is 80,000, but no one really has a handle on how much the hurricanes will impact the number. It could be much lower or much higher, and neither outcome would have much credibility. 

Given the current bullish bond market, it still might rally on a weak number despite the suspect nature of the data. Bond traders will shrug off stronger than expected numbers. The only part of the report that might matter to bond traders is the hourly wage component. Economists are expecting a 0.2%-0.3% increase. Bonds will certainly rally on anything weaker, and they might sell-off a bit if the number is stronger.

 

 

But, tomorrow’s jobs report will be messy and easily forgotten. Traders will go through the motions of reacting, but the numbers will have no staying power.

Dwight Johnston is the chief economist of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and president of Dwight Johnston Economics. He is the author of a popular commentary site and is a frequent speaker at credit union board planning sessions and industry conferences.

 

Oct. 5, 2017


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