What is NFP in Forex?

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Contributor, Benzinga
July 18, 2023

Regardless of the danger, volatility is a trader's best friend as it is hard to profit when the market is not moving. This fact is especially true for forex trades, where volatility can drive significant profits.

Although the forex market trades around the clock, almost all of its most volatile events occur around scheduled news releases. Among those, the Non-Farm Payroll (NFP) report ranks high as it indicates the strength of the U.S. labor market.

This article looks into its specifics and outlines a simple strategy that allows trading this event profitably.

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What is the NFP?

So what is NFP in forex? The NFP is a report published by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics that shows monthly changes in U.S. jobs, excluding farm-related employment numbers. This exclusion comes from strong seasonal tendencies in the agricultural sector that would skew the numbers at certain times every year, rendering the job market report less useful. Along with Federal Reserve interest rate decisions and the gross domestic product (GDP) projections, NFP is one of the strongest factors for price moves in the U.S. dollar.

NFP includes vital employment data like the unemployment rate, average hourly earnings and the labor participation rate — providing a snapshot of the critical component of the U.S. economy.

Two components of the NFP report are the Household Survey and the Establishment Survey.

The Household Survey includes the unemployment rate, unemployment among major working groups (men, women, ethnic groups), permanent job losers, long-term unemployment, labor force participation and those not in the labor force.

The Establishment Survey includes NFP employment rate, average hourly earnings and a further disambiguation per category — leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, manufacturing, construction, transportation and warehousing, wholesale trade and mining.

How Does the NFP Affect Forex?

NFP affects the forex market because the job reports paint the picture of the U.S. economy — the largest in the world. Assessing the strength of an economy that engages in that much foreign exchange trade impacts the world’s reserve currency, the U.S. dollar.

A surge in volatility occurs after the release of NFP data since it is under the watchful eye of institutions and retail traders trying to enter new or liquidate existing positions.

Consensus plays a key role in the currency market reaction to the data since a strong result, when expected, can be fully factored into the current price. Therefore, big moves are often the result of a relative surprise compared to the consensus. Generally, strong job growth and economic expansion, signaled by better-than-expected job creation, are signs of dollar strength.

Non-Farm Payroll Release Dates

The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases NFP data on the first Friday of every month, at 8.30 a.m. EST.

While such an important event receives plenty of analyst coverage, market participants receive a heads-up two days before the data release. On Wednesdays before the NFP report, Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) releases the ADP National Employment Report. This report, also known as the ADP Jobs Report, is a good forecast for the NFP report since ADP handles the payroll for around 20% of privately employed individuals in the U.S.

Currency Pairs Most Affected by NFP

An anticipated shift in the U.S. dollar supply or demand primarily affects the main trading partners of the U.S., like the EU, U.K. and Japan. The most affected currency pairs would probably be EUR/USD, GBP/USD, USD/JPY, AUD/USD and USD/CHF.

You can see the volatility from the following EUR/USD chart.


At 2:30 p.m. CET (8:30 a.m. EST), EUR/USD moves in a 50-pip range — half of the average daily range. This move is easily the largest move in a 5-minute time period within the session and likely in the week as well.

The Simple NFP Trading Strategy


The NFP report release usually causes a level of volatility that increases the odds of getting slipped. This NFP trading strategy avoids the initial data release and waits for trend confirmation.

This forex trading strategy uses a 15-minute chart on one of the currency pairs that are most prone to high volatility during the NFP report. This example looks at the EUR/USD forex pair and its price action during the NFP event.

  • Wait for the NFP event and do nothing for at least 15 minutes after the announcement. By this time, the initial burst should create a wide-range candle that is at least 50% of the ADR.
  • Look for an inside candle. An inside candle is a candle whose body, upper and lower wick are both inside the previous candle — in this case, an event candle. This candle doesn't have to occur immediately, but it should appear within the next few candles, as a sign of temporary market exhaustion.
  • Once an inside candle closes, its high and low now become a trigger point for the trade. If the price rises and closes above the high of an inside candle, buy and if it closes below it, sell.
  • For the stop loss, use the most recent low if you buy or the most recent high if you sell. Keep in mind that the stop loss should be at least 10% of the ADR but not more than 30%.
  • Plan the risk-to-reward ratio according to personal risk tolerance. Aim for it to be at least 1:1.

Trading Opportunities with NFP

The NFP report is an important economic indicator that affects the forex market. It provides information on the strength of the U.S. labor market and influences the value of the U.S. dollar. Traders closely watch the release of NFP data for trading opportunities, particularly in currency pairs like EUR/USD, GBP/USD, USD/JPY, AUD/USD and USD/CHF. A suggested trading strategy involves waiting for initial volatility to subside, identifying an inside candle pattern and using its high or low as entry points. Risk management is crucial when implementing this strategy.

Trade the NFP Release with These Top Forex Brokers

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Frequently Asked Questions 


What are NFP signals?


NFP signals relate to the correlation between the strength of the labor market in the U.S. and the strength of the U.S. dollar. A high reading is seen as a positive (bullish) for the dollar, while a low reading is seen as negative (bearish).


How often is NFP released?


The NFP report is released monthly, on the first Friday of the month. Two days before that, ADP releases the ADP National Employment Report a hint for the NFP report.


Where can I find NFP?


You can find NFP numbers at The Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read the dedicated NFP coverage and analysis on Benzinga Forex.

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About Stjepan Kalinic

Forex, Equity Analysis, and Financial Education