Here Comes the Jobs Report
Will February’s low jobs numbers be an anomaly or an indicator of a new trend?
Tomorrow, the job numbers for March will be released. With these numbers we will see proof of one of two directions. The first could be that the dismal jobs numbers in February were just an anomaly. January's job growth was reported as very strong and when you take January's numbers together with February, the average growth per month was not far below average. Therefore, we don't need a huge bounce back month in March to even things out -- just an average month.
On the other hand, a weak report for March could be seen as the start of a trend of slower jobs growth and thus slower overall economic growth. This means that this jobs report is more significant than the others we have witnessed over the past several years. In the aftermath of the recession, the United States has witnessed a record of over 100 months of positive jobs growth, and the past few years have been very strong. So, it would not be surprising to see somewhat of a slowdown in the months ahead.
Keep in mind that it is not just the jobs growth for March that is important. In the past several months, we have seen some pretty significant revisions to previously released numbers. Thus, an upward revision in February's numbers is also a possibility. The analysts will also be looking at the labor participation rate to see how many of the long-term unemployed or retired are re-entering the workforce, because the low unemployment rate tells us that we need more workers to become available in order for the labor force to keep growing. Overall, this will be a very interesting jobs report, and the results may give us a clue as to the direction of the economy and especially interest rates.