Archive for August 3rd, 2017

Notes From Underground: Unemployment Friday, the Data On Which We’re Dependent?

August 3, 2017

The first Friday of August brings the BLS jobs report. Does it matter for the markets?In my opinion, not unless this number is above 300,000 or the rate falls below 4.1%. Average hourly earnings (AHE) is the critical variable of the economic story. The FOMC and others have been adamant that it is the fear of wage inflation that drives the discussion about either an interest rate increase or a “relatively soon” beginning of quantitative tightening. For our preparation, the market estimate is for a nonfarm payroll number of 170,000, an unemployment rate of 4.4% and, more importantly, a 0.3% increase in AHE. As an aside, a number that Art Cashin likes is the hours worked per week, which is expected to remain at 34.5. The hours worked are examined because even if new jobs aren’t created a strong economy will get employers to seek longer hours for current workers.