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US NFP Preview: 5 Major Banks expectations from February payrolls report

Today, we have an all-important US nonfarm payrolls report due for the month of February, and as we get closer to the release time, here are the expectations as forecasted by the economists and researchers of 5 major banks, regarding the upcoming employment data.

Most of the economists and researchers are expecting February US NFP to post a soft reading in between 175K to 190K, after a very strong 304k print of January. In addition, they are forecasting the US unemployment rate to fall a tenth to 3.9%.

Deutsche Bank

“The consensus is for another solid round of data. Expectations for payrolls is 185k which as a reminder follows a much stronger than expected 304k print in January.”

“Earnings are expected to have risen +0.3% mom which if true, would likely push the annual rate up one-tenth to +3.3% yoy and so matching the highs from the end of last year. The unemployment rate is expected to fall a tenth to 3.9% and hours hold at 34.5 hours.”

Westpac

“After a strong 2018, employment growth started 2019 with extraordinary vigour, nonfarm payrolls rising 304k in the month. Admittedly, employment in the prior two months was revised down by 70k. Still, the net addition of 234k is unquestionably strong.”

“Come February, we look for a moderation back to around 175k for monthly employment growth. If seen in both February and March, this pace would result in a Q1 monthly– average pace in line with 2018's.”

“Looking ahead, employment gains in 2019 are expected to be softer than in 2018, but still ahead of labour force growth. The consequence will be a steady drift lower in the unemployment rate towards 3.5%.”

TD Securities

“Following two consecutive reports with 300k+ prints for December and January, we look for payrolls to mean revert to 190k in February. In particular, we see scope for softness in the construction and in the leisure/ hospitality sectors given recent above-average strength in hiring.”

“Conversely, the phase-out of the impact from the government shutdown on the household survey should be reflected on a tick down in the unemployment rate to 3.9% in February, as furloughed federal employees exit their "unemployed on temporary layoff" status.”

“Lastly, we expect wages to rise by a "soft" 0.3% m/m pace on a favorable reference week, increasing the annual print by a tenth to 3.3% in February. However, a "strong" 0.3% print could see an even larger increase in the annual pace to 3.4%.”

Danske Bank

“In the US, the jobs report is the most important release which is due out on Friday. We think average hourly earnings rose +0.25% m/m in February, which means an increase in the annual growth rate to 3.3% y/y, up from 3.2%, while we expect the change in nonfarm payrolls to come in at 190k.”

“Regarding nonfarm payrolls, it seems employment growth has reached its high and has stabilised around its current level of 1.7% y/y. At the moment, the labour market is still strong, but in our view it is important to keep an eye on deceleration in employment.”

ING

“Economic fundamentals are looking good though, and Friday’s employment report could reinforce our view that – despite the global risk environment, the labour market is strong.”

“Wage growth for full-time workers finally picked up to 1.8% YoY in January after seven months of consistent declines. On Friday, we’ll be seeing if this upward trend is sustained, as this would further support our case that monetary tightening will resume later this year.”