The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release the March jobs report on Friday, April 1 at 12:30 GMT and as we get closer to the release time, here are the forecasts by the economists and researchers of 10 major banks regarding the upcoming employment data. 

Economists expect an increase of 490K positions in March, down from the impressive 678K recorded in February, but similar to 481K in January.


“In recent months, 500 to 700 thousand new jobs have been created on a regular basis. We expect a similar result for March (forecast 500K). High-frequency data on the number of restaurant diners and airline passengers, for example, point to a noticeable increase in jobs especially in the service sector, which is benefiting from the subsiding of the omicron wave. Accordingly, the labor market is tightening. We forecast a further decline in the unemployment rate to 3.7%. Already at last count, the 6 million unemployed could choose between 11 million unfilled jobs – a ratio that Federal Reserve Chairman Powell recently called ‘unhealthy’. The March employment report is thus likely to reinforce his inflation concerns.”


“The US economy continues to produce jobs at a rapid rate, the average monthly gain over the past six months coming in circa 580K. In March, we expect a similar result of 500K. For now, it seems that risks remain to the upside, with participation’s intermittent move higher allowing labour supply to more fully meet demand. As a result, while in March we expect an unchanged participation rate, even if it does lift, the unemployment rate is still likely to move lower to 3.7%. Hourly earnings have surprised to the downside the past two months and so are due for a robust gain in March. Still, real wages growth will continue to decline.”


“We expect solid job gains in Nonfarm Payrolls, around 350K, which should have JOLTs tickle down. Labour conditions continue to be extremely hot – to an unhealthy level as Chair Powell put it. The big picture is that the secular fall seems to have accelerated under the pandemic. Total US employment figures are 0.6m below the pre-covid level and 3.5m below the implied trend. So while the unemployment rate is at a historically low level it is flattered by a depressed participation rate.”


“We are forecasting a payrolls gain of 500K, but it could well be lower. Like supply chain strains, a lack of suitable workers is holding back growth potential and putting up costs as wages get bid higher in a red hot jobs market. Consequently, we expect the details of the release to support our call of 50bp of hikes at both the May and June policy meetings.”

Danske Bank

“We look for a decent report with jobs growth around 450K, but the unemployment rate and wage growth will also be in focus to gauge underlying inflation pressures.”


“Employment likely continued to advance in March following two strong reports averaging +580k in Jan and Feb. That said, we expect some of that boost to fizzle, though to a still firm job growth pace of 350K. Indeed, job gains should lead to a new drop in the unemployment rate to a post-COVID low of 3.7%. We also expect wage growth to slow to a still firm 0.3% MoM pace.”


“Payrolls may have increased 450K in the third month of the year. The household survey is expected to show a similar gain, a development which could lead to a one-tick decrease of the unemployment rate to 3.7%.”


“Employers likely added 490K to headcounts, with gains being concentrated in private services that were adversely impacted by the pandemic. Higher wages were likely on offer in an attempt to overcome the ongoing labor shortage, but with hiring likely skewed towards lower-paying positions within already lower value-added sectors, aggregate wages could have shown an only moderate 0.3% advance. We’re close enough to the consensus forecast to imply little market impact. Another strong month of hiring would add to the urgency for further Fed tightening, with a 50bps hike likely in store at the next FOMC.”


“US March Nonfarm Payrolls – Citi: 490K, prior: 678K; Average Hourly Earnings YoY – Citi: 5.3%, prior: 5.1%; Unemployment Rate – Citi: 3.7%, prior: 3.8%. the trend of monthly payrolls growth over the last 9 months has been steady within a ~450K-650K range and we expect another increase consistent with this pace in March. Meanwhile, we expect a somewhat modest increase of 0.3% MoM in average hourly earnings in March given the bounce-back in total hours worked following reduced worker absences but the US unemployment rate should fall to 3.7% in March based on a similar pattern in the household survey of employment as last month.”

Deutsche Bank

“We expect NFP to increase by 400K, bringing the unemployment rate to a post-pandemic low of 3.7%.”


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