February NFP report to show mildly positive employment dynamics

The February US jobs numbers are not expected to differ substantially from those registered in the recent months, although the market experts participating in the forecast report suggest that they will rather be somewhat lower.


This time the range of predictions is relatively narrow: between 110K and 200K jobs added. Alexandra Estiot who sees the US labor market growing by 180-200K in February justifies her optimistic forecast by saying that "in late 2012, some signs of strengthening were already obvious, with non-farm private payrolls growing by more than 200k a month" and that "leading indicators are pointing to a strengthening of that trend, with employment components of ISM surveys at historical highs." She nevertheless warns about the effects of the automatic budget cuts which after being implemented might harm the labor market.

Other analysts, who expect more modest jobs gains in the range of 130K-170K, are also worried about the impact of the sequester and some suspect that the steady growth trend might be coming to an end. Steve Ruffley points to a similar situation in the corresponding period of last year: "We have seen a steady decrease in 2013 from the NFP highs of 247K to last month’s figure of 157K; this mirrors the start of 2012 where the NFP went from 259K to 154K."

Should the reading prove better than expected "it could cause short-term positive reaction in the stocks market," as Talal Abdullah suggests and adds that "the uptick in NFP should increase the appeal for the U.S. dollar, as it raises the outlook for growth."

US NFP numbers for February will be released on March 8 at 13:30 GMT.
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