Private employers added 325,000 jobs in December, easily beating economists' expectations, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Thursday.
New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell by 15,000 last week in the latest sign the labor market was improving and could help the country resist the effects of a likely euro zone recession.
DAVID SLOAN, ECONOMIST, IFR ECONOMICS, A UNIT OF THOMSON REUTERS
The initial claims total for the week to December 31 of 372k was close to a market consensus of 375k, down 15k from the preceding week's 387k (revised up by 6k from 381k). While the latest weekly decline does not fully reverse a preceding revised increase of 21k, it helps sustain a falling trend. The 4 week average of 373.25k (down from 376.5k) is the lowest since June 7 2008.
Continuing claims data for the week to December 24 fell by 22k to 3.595 mln, though net of revisions the improvement was marginal (the preceding week was revised up by 16k to 3.617 mln). The latest outcome was slightly above a consensus estimate of 3.58 mln and the fall failed to reverse a preceding 50k increase. While the data may have not quite met expectations trend however continues to improve, with the continuing claims 4 week average of 3.59875 mln (down from 3.63775 mln) the lowest since September 27 2008.
Given that we are in the holiday season when claims data is more volatile than normal it is best to look at the 4 week average to make conclusions. Seasonal adjustments are large, with the latest data showing initial claims up by 37k and continuing claims up by 151k before seasonal adjustment. The message from the 4 week averages is that the labor market is maintaining its recent improvement, but at a pace broadly in line with market expectations. This release should not have any impact on payroll expectations.
BORIS SCHLOSSBERG, DIRECTOR OF FX RESEARCH, GFT, JERSEY CITY
The ADP data confirms that the underlying U.S. economy is outperforming the other G10 countries. This should hike up expectations for the non-farm payrolls report on Friday. What does this do about interest rate policy? Nothing. We'll have to see 5 or 6 months of 200,000-plus new jobs before the Federal Reserves will even consider removing quantitative easing.
The data seemed to be having a positive impact on the U.S. dollar. For the last couple of weeks, euro/dollar has decoupled from the risk appetite theme and this reflects the view that the euro zone is the hobbled region, while the U.S. is the growth economy.
TODD SCHOENBERGER, MANAGING DIRECTOR AT LANDCOLT TRADING IN WILMINGTON, DELAWARE
The ADP number was a gigantic figure. Even if they're only 50 percent right, the number is still a huge improvement. Bulls will be running today. The jobless number is definitely a positive as well, and while it was nothing to be hip-hip-horray about relative to expectations, they point to what should be a fabulous number tomorrow. We should welcome this positive news because clearly Santa Claus is still around.
JOHN KILDUFF, PARTNER AT HEDGE FUND, AGAIN CAPITAL LLC IN NEW YORK
The ADP number seems to punctuate the recent positive economic data, but the rally it is causing in the dollar looks to be limiting the gains in crude oil.
THEODORE LITTLETON, ECONOMIST, IFR ECONOMICS, A UNIT OF THOMSON REUTERS
The ADP Employment Report showed a 325k gain in private payrolls in December, far exceeding the entire range of estimates in the latest Reuters survey, which saw a median estimate of +178k, with a range of +145k to +225k. Some caution is required, though: Last December, ADP's called for a gain of 297k, far exceeding the BLS private payrolls report of just 113k, on what was chalked up to a year-end fluke in ADP's methodology.
WAYNE KAUFMAN, CHIEF MARKET ANALYST AT JOHN THOMAS FINANCIAL IN NEW YORK
The number is stunning. I'm wondering if this is one of the largest beats over estimates they've ever had. This is another data point that shows our economy is healing. It fits in well with improvements we've seen in consumer sentiment, and obviously that's because there are more people getting paychecks, which is making everyone happier. At the same time, I think this sets up the possibility for a disappointment tomorrow.
(Americas Economics and Markets Desk)