NFP (Dec) Actual -524k, Expected -525k, Previous -584K (Revised from -533k)
Unemployment Rate (Dec) Actual 7.2%, Expected 7.0%, Previous 6.8% (Revised from 6.7%)
Release Explanation: A statistic researched, recorded and reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics intended to represent the total number of paid U.S. workers of any business. The NFP impacts the Market with huge volatility because of the constant revisions to the previous reporting periods. The accompanying Employment % number tends to be much more reliable in its monthly report. The Average Hourly Earnings will add to, or contain the impact of the number of jobs created. These 3 components go to make for explosive NFP Fridays.
Outside of the Interest Rate Statement, this is the most important guide for US$ Traders planning for the weeks and months ahead as the Labor Market will indicate the potential strength of future economic growth. A strong economy usually equates to a strong currency.
Trade Desk Thoughts: The economy lost 524,000 jobs in December 2008, the Bureau of labor Statistics said today, bringing the total amount of jobs lost in 2008 to 2.6 million, the most since 1945. The number was in-line with economists' expectations of a 525,000 jobs lost. The November report was revised to show an even steeper decline of 584,000, the most since 1974.The unemployment rate jumped 0.4 percentage point to 7.2%, the most since January 1993.
The 'whisper number' had been well over 625k because of the ADP report, said Matthew Carniol, chief currency strategist at TheLFB-forex.com. The markets may actually take a measure of comfort from today's report as a result of the government's number being less-worse than expected.
The economy has now lost jobs for 12 straight months and the loss of jobs could get worse in January as the automakers and many retail firms continue to cut back on workers as the economy slows. Today's report could put pressure on Federal Reserve officials to expand the balance sheet even further with additional purchases of assets and credit instruments, including U.S. Treasuries. The report also supports those calling for a large-scale fiscal stimulus, which the incoming Obama administration has promised to enact soon upon taking office.
Average hourly earnings increased $0.05, or 0.3%, to $18.36. Hourly earnings were up just 3.7% for the year, indicating that a slackening workforce has little bargaining power with respect to higher wages. UAW workers are expected to take reductions in salary when negotiations with the automakers begin next week.
Hiring in goods-producing industries plunged by just over one-quarter million. Within this group, manufacturing firms cut 149,000 jobs, with motor vehicles and auto parts makers accounting for 21,000 job losses. Construction employment was down by 101,000 last month and has fallen almost 900,000 since peaking in September 2006. Service-sector employment tumbled 273,000. Business and professional services companies shed 113,000 jobs, the second-straight six-figure loss, and financial-sector payrolls were down 14,000.
The only sectors to gain jobs were healthcare and education, which added 45,000 jobs, and government, which added 7000 jobs.The average workweek fell 0.2 hour to 33.3 hours.
The augmented unemployment rate, which includes those who are working part time because they can't find full time and those who have given up looking for work, rose to 10.4%.
Forex Technical Reaction: Currency markets were virtually flat overnight; S&P futures had been down about 0.3%. After the report, S&P futures moved to a gain of 0.5% and the dollar gained against the euro, pound, yen and Australian dollars.