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Coming Feature . . . Starring a Number!

03/30/2011

The big show is Friday at 8:30AM. That’s when the monthly jobs report is issued by the government, i.e., Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is the single most important statistic released each month and can easily move markets. If the number is much over 225 thousand jobs, the market will probably rise. If much less, the market will probably fall.

Today, the huge payroll company, ADP, estimated the number at 201 thousand, which is close enough to the consensus estimate. Further, the headhunting firm of Challenger, Gray estimated the number of planned layoffs dropped 18% from the previous month and 39% from the same month the previous year. In fact, layoffs during the first quarter were the lowest since 1995.

But, don’t be surprised if the unemployment rate actually goes up from 8.9% of the labor force, depending on how many people re-entered the labor force, because they think they can now get a job. Clearly, the job market is improving but s-l-o-w-l-y!

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