Like everyone else, I make a big deal–too big a deal given the confidence intervals around these estimates–about the headline numbers in the monthly jobs report. And–fair warning–I will do so again tomorrow with the January number. But one of the first numbers I’ll look for is the revision of December’s paltry 74,000 in total payroll jobs added that month.
I’d guess that most analysts, like myself, are looking for an upward revision. The underlying trend in monthly payroll growth is more than twice the initial December print, so let’s see if we get an upward revision. True, there’ve been some recent bumps in the economic road–weak manufacturing and durable goods reports, maybe some slowing in housing sector, persistently weak wage growth–that could explain another disappointing number. But the consensus, as per Bloomberg below, is a reversion back to something more like the trend.
My models are saying 120K for total payrolls and 115K for private, but I think they’re low. I’ll go with around 150K which is still below consensus.
BTW, to muddy the trend waters further, tomorrow the BLS will plug the annual benchmark revision into the payroll data. Based on more complete jobs data, they raise or lower the level of payroll jobs in March of the prior year (2013 in this case) and then grow that level according the monthly changes since then. The preliminary estimate is for an upward level adjustment of 345K (which is wedged into the series 1/12 per month starting with April of 2012…get it?!).
See you tomorrow with my first impressions shortly after the release.