Optimism Growing in Anticipation of Strong Jobs Report

Jun 2, 2010
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Good news is expected from three employment reports out this week. The key report will come Friday, an hour before the New York Stock Exchange opens, but already optimism about the number of jobs created in May seems to be the rule on Wall Street.

No less than the President himself said the employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics would not only be positive, but strongly so. “We expect to see strong jobs growth in Friday’s report,” Obama said in a speech in Pittsburgh today. “This economy is getting stronger by the day.”

The expectation is that the report will show unemployment down from 9.9 to 9.8 percent, while jobs grew by about 513,000, a sizable chunk of that due to government hiring for the census.

The anticipation of that report, plus a stronger-than-expected home sales report boosted stock buying today, sending the Dow up 226 points by the close. It also helped that a layoff report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas said announced cuts were only slightly higher than those announced in April. April’s 38,326 planned layoffs was the lowest in four years.

We’ll get a preview of the strength of the jobs growth tomorrow when the ADP National Employment Report is released. ADP and its partner Macroeconomic Advisers compile a jobs change report monthly based on the payrolls ADP processes. The numbers don’t include government jobs, and don’t always move in sync with the BLS report, but the report offers a foreshadowing of the numbers.

The ADP report is expected to show an increase of 51,000 jobs, according to Reuters, which also reported a more conservative 425,000 job growth estimate for the Friday labor report.

The weekly report of new jobless claims is also due out tomorrow and it is expected to show a decline of about 10,000. That will help fuel the optimism that, though slow and more sluggish than in previous recoveries, the economy is rebounding.

Confidence in the recovery is evident in the improving Consumer Confidence Index from The Conference Board. The index rose to 63.3 in May, up from an adjusted 57.7 the month before.

For the unemployed, the numbers are nowhere near as important as the actual job postings to which they can apply. There, reports The Conference Board, little has changed since April. Its Help Wanted OnLine Data Series said there were 4,149,000 jobs posted on career sites and job boards in the U.S. in May, a decline of 300,000.

The report says job postings were down in every region except in the Northeast, which saw an increase of 5,500 advertised vacancies. Some states saw significant gains, among them California, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia.

A second job posting report — the Monster Employment Index — is also due Thursday.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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