Positive jobs data is setting the table for an upside surprise for Friday’s non-farm payrolls report. Investors have been conditioned to believe that the jobs data will be horrendous primarily due to the Winter storms, but this morning’s data has investors thinking it might not be so bad.
The ADP jobs report showed a 20K decline in payrolls for February. Weather had a smaller impact than expected. Meanwhile, the Challenger Job-Cut Report showed that employers are laying off fewer employees. The layoff count fell to 42K which was the lowest level since 2006 when the job market was quite healthy. Both reports imply that companies are gearing up to begin hiring again.
The ISM non-manufacturing report reflected much of the sentiment seen in the ISM manufacturing report. The headline figure came in better than expected at 53 versus expectations of 51. New orders rose to 55, employment jumped to 48.6 (from 44.6). Comments were a bit mixed:
- “Conditions for our business have substantially improved over the last three months.” (Information)
- “We are proceeding with caution based upon the current market conditions.” (Public Administration)
- “Business activity about the same as last month. Perhaps a slight increase in new orders for material and services — nothing major.” (Utilities)
- “The overall unemployment and the net effect of housing [instability] continue to affect our business.” (Retail Trade)
- “Business is okay. Customers are doing a lot of price shopping.” (Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting)