Expectations were high in advance of Friday’s Labor Department unemployment report in the wake of the ADP survey this week that showed November private sector hiring was higher than expected.
October’s unemployment rate was 4.9 percent with 7.8 million people actively looking for jobs, little changed since August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The number of long-term unemployed was unchanged at 2 million. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 161,000, slightly below the 2016 average of 181,000. Last year, the number of jobs increased by 229,000 a month on average.
Positive results for November are likely to convince the U.S. Federal Reserve to hike interest rates for the first time in a year.
Wednesday’s ADP report found private employers added 216,000 nonfarm jobs, 37,000 of them by small businesses. The biggest increase was among service-providers, 228,000 jobs, but those gains were offset by losses at goods-producing firms and manufacturing, as well as in natural resources and mining, and information.
Friday’s report will provide a backdrop for the Federal Open Markets Committee's Dec. 13-14 meeting, and good numbers likely will guarantee at least a 25-basis-point increase in the overnight funds rate — the rate charged to banks.
An increase now will help the economy, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester told the African-American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania.
"I view a small step up in interest rates as appropriate, not because I want to curtail the expansion, but because I believe it will help prolong the expansion," Mester said Wednesday. Action now, she said, would prevent inflation from getting out of control once the economy heats up — something President-elect Donald Trump has promised to do.
"If we delay too long and then find ourselves in a situation where the labor market becomes unsustainably tight, price pressures become excessive, and we have to move rates up steeply, we could risk a recession, a bad outcome that disproportionately harms the more vulnerable parts of our society."
Jeff Carbone, co-founder and managing partner of Cornerstone Financial Partners, told International Business Times good jobs numbers Friday will guarantee a rate hike midmonth, and he thinks the stock market already has taken an interest rate hike into account, and though there might be a pullback initially, he said investors are likely to push stocks higher in the near term.
Carbone said adding more stimulus to the economy, such as tax cuts and/or fewer regulations, “could push off recession for a few more years. The big fear right now is with interest rates as low as they are … the Fed doesn’t have the power to cool an overheated economy.”
The Commerce Department reported this week the gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the third quarter, largely the result of an increase in private inventory investment, acceleration in exports, more federal spending and smaller decreases in state and local government spending and residential fixed investment.
Carbone said GDP could accelerate further unless Trump carries out the protectionist measures he outlined during the campaign.
If he does, “all bets are off,” Carbone said. “We won’t know until he takes office what programs will become primary and how they will affect the economy.”