NFP Preview: Forecasts from 10 major banks, employment continues to rise strongly

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release the February jobs report on Friday, March 8 at 13:30 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.

Expectations are for a 200K rise in Nonfarm Payrolls following the stronger-than-expected 353K increase recorded in January. Meanwhile, Average Hourly Earnings are expected to slow to 4.3% vs. 4.5% in January and the Unemployment Rate is set to remain steady at 3.7%.


We still see strong demand for labor despite the high interest rates. At the same time, the renewed increase in immigration means that sufficient applicants are entering the market, which is why the jobs on offer can be filled. Monthly employment growth is no longer weakening. Accordingly, we expect job growth of 200K for February with an unchanged low unemployment rate of 3.7%.

Deutsche Bank

We estimate gains in payrolls to moderate to 225K. We also see MoM gains in hourly earnings slowing to 0.2% and the unemployment rate staying at 3.7%.

Danske Bank

We expect NFP growth to cool down to 180K and average hourly earnings to land at 0.2% MoM after the surprisingly strong January report.


We look for February NFP to show some moderation in job gains (190K) after the surprise to the upside in January. Household survey volatility will likely lead to a drop in the UE rate to 3.6%, while wage growth is expected to recede to 0.1% MoM after Jan's booming print. 

RBC Economics

We expect February NFP numbers to show another solid employment gain of 260K, with growth mainly coming from the leisure and hospitality, health care, and government sectors. We expect the unemployment rate to hold steady at 3.7%.


Hiring could have slowed in the month if previously released soft indicators such as S&P Global’s Composite PMI were any guide, but this may have been offset by a decrease in the number of layoffs. At least that is what a drop in initial jobless claims between the January and February reference periods suggests. With these two trends cancelling each other, job creation could have remained strong at 190K. And while the household survey may show a larger gain following the losses recorded in January, this could have been partly offset by a rebound in participation, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 3.7%.


We forecast a gain of 200K and a rise in average earnings of 0.3%. 

Wells Fargo

The pace of hiring still appears to be on solid ground, and we anticipate payrolls to rise by 195K during February, just slightly above the current consensus. Furthermore, we look for the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 3.7% and for average hourly earnings to ease to 0.2% during the month alongside normalizing supply and demand for workers. 


We expect the February payroll report to be another strong release with 220K jobs gained and a bounce back in average hours worked to 34.3 from the inclement weather during reference week of last month’s survey. Over the past few months, broad-based hiring has picked up and we expect more of that trend in February. Our expectation is health care and government sectors to account for 60% of job gains and all other sectors, which behave more cyclically, to account for the remaining 40%. The unemployment rate and participation rate should remain unchanged at 3.7% and 62.5% respectively in the month. But the most important piece of the payroll report to watch out for once again will be the revisions. Given the size and volatility of revisions lately, there seem to be equal chances of either solidifying or nullifying the recent picture of the labour market. 


We expect a 145K increase in NFP. December and January’s figures were likely boosted by stale seasonal adjustment factors, which positively offset non-seasonally adjusted declines in each of these months. Seasonal factors from February through June however will likely imply a downward adjustment to payroll growth. This should make for a still-declining trend of employment over coming months during the period in which hiring should typically pick up. We expect average hourly earnings to rise 0.4% MoM in February following a very strong 0.6% increase in January. This would still be a strong increase in wage growth, with average hourly earnings up 4.6% from a year ago. However, even with some rebound in aggregate hours worked in February, and thus softer average hourly earnings, markets will be particularly interested in the trend of average hours worked. Average hours worked dropped to a very low 34.1 hours/week in January, although this low level likely does reflect some weather and seasonal adjustment issues. The unemployment rate should rebound to 3.8% in February from 3.7% in January, although with risks that it remains at 3.7% if the participation rate remains subdued.


Share: Feed news

Information on these pages contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Markets and instruments profiled on this page are for informational purposes only and should not in any way come across as a recommendation to buy or sell in these assets. You should do your own thorough research before making any investment decisions. FXStreet does not in any way guarantee that this information is free from mistakes, errors, or material misstatements. It also does not guarantee that this information is of a timely nature. Investing in Open Markets involves a great deal of risk, including the loss of all or a portion of your investment, as well as emotional distress. All risks, losses and costs associated with investing, including total loss of principal, are your responsibility. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of FXStreet nor its advertisers. The author will not be held responsible for information that is found at the end of links posted on this page.

If not otherwise explicitly mentioned in the body of the article, at the time of writing, the author has no position in any stock mentioned in this article and no business relationship with any company mentioned. The author has not received compensation for writing this article, other than from FXStreet.

FXStreet and the author do not provide personalized recommendations. The author makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability of this information. FXStreet and the author will not be liable for any errors, omissions or any losses, injuries or damages arising from this information and its display or use. Errors and omissions excepted.

The author and FXStreet are not registered investment advisors and nothing in this article is intended to be investment advice.

Recommended content

Recommended content

Editors’ Picks

EUR/USD declines toward 1.0800 on renewed USD strength

EUR/USD declines toward 1.0800 on renewed USD strength

EUR/USD stays on the back foot and declines toward 1.0800 following the modest rebound seen after German inflation data. The risk-averse market atmosphere, as reflected by the bearish action in Wall Street, supports the USD and weighs on the pair.


GBP/USD extends slide to 1.2700 area as mood sours

GBP/USD extends slide to 1.2700 area as mood sours

After moving sideways near 1.2750 in the European session, GBP/USD came under modest bearish pressure and dropped toward 1.2700. The negative shift seen in risk mood allows the USD to stay resilient against its rivals and drags the pair lower.


Gold pressures daily lows around $2,340

Gold pressures daily lows around $2,340

Gold trades in negative territory near $2,340 after closing the previous three trading days higher. The benchmark 10-year US Treasury bond yield gains more than 1% on the day above 4.6%, causing XAU/USD to continue to stretch lower.

Gold News

Bitcoin bull market is still going strong, on-chain data shows

Bitcoin bull market is still going strong, on-chain data shows

Bitcoin’s (BTC) price outlook remains positive in the short term despite its recent stabilization, on-chain data suggests, propelled by easing selling pressure by long-term holders and activity from large-wallet investors. 

Read more

Big moves ahead: ECB’s interest rate cut and the future of EUR/USD

Big moves ahead: ECB’s interest rate cut and the future of EUR/USD

The European Central Bank is set for a major move: an interest rate cut in June. This decision, backed by top officials like ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos and French central bank chief Francois Villeroy de Galhau.

Read more