Nonfarm Payrolls Preview: Forecast from 10 major banks for January jobs report

The US jobs report for January is due out at 13:30 GMT and as we get closer to the release time, here are the forecasts of economists and researchers of 10 major banks regarding the upcoming employment data.

The economic calendar is pointing to an increase of 50,000 positions in January, but releases toward the NFP report point higher, with some expecting 200,000. America's Unemployment Rate is set to remain unchanged at 6.7%. 

Ahead of the Nonfarm Payrolls, the dollar is on the rise alongside yields, while metals are falling and cryptocurrencies are mixed. 

Deutsche Bank

“Our US economists are now forecasting a +200K increase in nonfarm payrolls after total jobless claims fell by 1.73 million since the last report and the ADP print surprised to the upside (+174K). This comes after the -140K decrease in jobs back in December. However, that increase likely won’t be enough to shift the unemployment rate, which they think will remain unchanged at 6.7%, so it would be no surprise if the Biden administration seize upon the jobs report to pressure Congress to act swiftly on their stimulus proposal.”


“We expect a +100K read, which is slightly above consensus, but unlikely to generate much market excitement.”


“Hiring could have remained depressed in the month judging from stagnation in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits between the December and January reference periods. Combined with still-high layoff numbers, this may have translated into a 75K drop in payrolls. The household survey is expected to show a similar pullback in employment which would be consistent with a 0.2% increase in the unemployment rate to 6.9%, assuming the participation rate stayed put at 61.5%.”


“We look for a decline of 50K. If the vaccine rollout occurs as planned and additional stimulus is passed by Congress, this job loss will reverse quickly. In contrast, the recovery back to full employment will prove long and difficult. Not only is the unemployment rate currently almost twice its pre-pandemic level, but this is with participation 2ppts lower than before COVID-19. Employment will need strong, sustained gains to recover, and only then will wages stand a chance of growing robustly.”

RBC Economics

“We expect a 200K increase that would just offset the 160K decline in December, and largely because shutdowns are occurring in a month that normally sees a lot of seasonal unwind of holiday hiring, to begin with. The number of people receiving jobless benefits has increased since the December survey period.”

Capital Economics

“We estimate that non-farm payroll employment was broadly unchanged in January, but the recent fiscal support and drop-back in new virus cases suggest the labour market recovery will resume soon.”


“Taking into account the fact that many jobs weren’t recovered following the re-opening phase in the summer implies that there are fewer jobs to lose this time around. It’s therefore likely that employment remained steady in January. It’s possible that any job losses in food services, retail trade, and accommodations could have been offset by hiring in goods-producing sectors. Moreover, the adjustment that the BLS conducts works to eliminate some of January’s seasonal job losses that are widespread even when the economy is healthy. The unemployment rate could have ticked up to 6.8%, while wages likely rose by 0.3%.”


“We expect a solid 250K rebound in employment in January. Average hourly earnings should rise 0.3% MoM while the unemployment rate is expected to increase slightly in January, largely reflecting softer employment in the household survey.”

Wells Fargo

“We are upwardly revising our January payroll forecast to a gain of 60K (previously a decline of 20K).”


“The MUFG estimate is for a gain of 125K. This will be a welcome rebound but when averaged with the December decline will still emphasise the ‘soft patch’ the US economy went through over the turn of the year. That should limit any enthusiastic response to a gain in line with the consensus but will not halt the rising optimism over the outlook for the economy.”

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