Friday's Jobs Data Likely To Shift Market Odds For Fed's Next Interest Rate Decision: Are Help Wanted Signs Gone?

Zinger Key Points
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics is set to release the March nonfarm payrolls at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday.
  • The market is projecting a 60% chance of a pause and a 40% chance of a 0.25% hike at the Fed's next meeting.

Key jobs data is due Friday and recent numbers suggest the labor market may be starting to roll over. Here's what you need to know ahead of the print.

Friday's Jobs Report: The Bureau of Labor Statistics is set to release the March nonfarm payrolls at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday. The data will measure how many jobs were created in the U.S. last month across a majority of businesses. 

Economists are anticipating that employers added 239,000 payrolls, according to Benzinga Pro. The number will follow a hotter-than-expected print in February in which the U.S. added 311,000 jobs, well above average economist estimates of 200,000.

The Read-Through For The Fed: Jobless claims decreased by 18,000 to 228,000 for the week ending April 1 from an upwardly revised level of 246,000, according to data the Labor Department released on Thursday.

Private payrolls rose by just 145,000 in March, down from 261,000 in February and well below forecasts of 200,000, which suggests the labor market is cooling significantly. 

Projections for the Federal Reserve's next move have been bouncing around between a pause and another 0.25% rate hike. Following the cooler-than-expected labor data, the market was split approximately 60/40 Thursday in favor of a pause at the Fed's next meeting, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool

Friday's jobs number is likely to swing projections one way or the other. Another hot print could lift expectations for a subsequent 0.25% hike, but CNBC's Jim Cramer said he expects the labor market to have finally cracked, as recent data seems to suggest.

Cramer predicted the number will be the first to really show weakness in the labor market on Thursday's "Squawk On The Street."

"I think the help wanted signs are down, and not because they found the people, I think they are afraid to hire," he said. 

People are underestimating the effects of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse, the CNBC host said. 

See Also: 3 Signs A Recession Is Coming: Just 1 Is Left Before Bank Of America Sounds The Alarm

Powell Holds The Line On 2% Inflation Goal: The Fed has been willing to continue to raise rates, especially considering the continued strength of the labor market, but SVB's crumbling suggests the Fed might have finally broken something in the banking system in its aggressive fight against inflation. 

Potential contagion in the banks is the primary factor pushing expectations toward a pause, but the labor market appears to be finally cooling off and the Fed also revised its outlook following its most recent decision on rates. 

At the Fed's last meeting, the committee said it no longer sees "ongoing increases" as appropriate and instead opted to say that some "firming" may be needed. 

Fed Chair Jerome Powell maintained that 2% inflation is still the goal and said the Fed would use all of its tools to do so.

"There are real costs to bringing it down to 2%, but the costs of failing are much higher," Powell said in a press conference following the Fed's last 0.25% hike.

If Friday brings another hot jobs number, projections for the Fed's next move could easily return to looking like a coin flip, which is where the projections were immediately following the Fed's last meeting. A cooler-than-expected print will likely continue to push projections in favor of a pause. 

Check This Out: Inflation Is About To Plummet, Wall Street Firm Says: Here's When Things Should Get Back To Normal

Price Action: At publication time, the SPDR S&P 500 SPY was down 0.21% at $406.79, while the Invesco QQQ Trust ETF QQQ was down 0.26% at $315.13 and the Vanguard Russell 2000 ETF VTWO was lower by just 0.13%, trading at $70.04, according to Benzinga Pro.

Photo via Shutterstock.

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Posted In: NewsBroad U.S. Equity ETFsPreviewsEcon #sTop StoriesFederal ReserveMarketsETFsInflationInterest RatesJerome PowellJim Cramer
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