A Road Map For Reports

What should credit unions expect from Friday's barrage of economic reports?

On Thursday, the Labor Department reported weekly jobless claims in the United States fell to a very low 249,000. The news, however, had no impact on the markets. Most traders and investors are likely sitting out today and waiting for Friday’s nonfarm payroll report.

So, what can credit unions expect from tomorrow’s barrage of reports?

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First stop nonfarm payrolls. The consensus guess for payrolls is 168,000. If the number is close to 100,000, you can throw out everything that has happened tin he past eight days. A number close to 200,000 would cause more angst in the bond market.

Second stop hourly wages. Wages are expected to rise by 0.2%. Bond traders will take solace in 0.1% and be disturbed by a 0.3% or 0.4% rise.

Third stop revisions. Check revisions to the prior two months payroll data. Big revisions could change impressions about the latest number.

Fourth stop unemployment rate. This might be a quick stop as it usually gets little attention, but be alert for any unusual changes in the participation rate.

Although it will take a couple of minutes for us mere mortals to navigate the reports in the morning, computer trading programs will complete the course in microseconds. If there are any major surprises in the report, the market reactions will be instantaneous.

Most traders believe a strong number will seal the deal for a Fed tightening in December, if not November, but you can’t be sure of anything with Janet Yellen at the helm. She might be using a different roadmap.

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.

October 6, 2016

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