The U.S. Department of Labor will release the official nonfarm payrolls report on Friday. The official jobs data are expected to show a dismal month of hiring after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma ripped through Texas and Florida, causing widespread damage.
For September, the U.S. economy is believed to have added 100,000 nonfarm jobs. That would mark the worst total since March, when employers added a mere 50,000 workers.
Nonfarm payrolls growth has remained steady for most of the year, as the labor market continued to operate at full employment according to the Federal Reserve’s generally accepted definition. Monthly job gains surpassed the 200,000-mark four times this year.
Economists at Labor are expected to report an unemployment rate of 4.4% during September, unchanged from the previous month. The average workweek is also believed to have held steady at 34.4 hours.
Average hourly earnings, which are a proxy for wage inflation, likely increased 0.3% on month and 2.6% annually. Both estimates exceed the August increase of 0.1% and 2.5%, respectively.
The ADP private payrolls report on Wednesday may have offered a glimpse of the official jobs numbers. The payrolls processor said private sector employment rose by 135,000 in September, with goods and services producing industries registering solid gains. By ADP’s count, that was the lowest total since October 2016.
Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president of the ADP Research Institute, said the following:
“In September, small businesses experienced a dip in hiring. This is in part due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma which significantly impacted smaller retailers. In addition, the continued slow down we have seen in small business hiring could be due to a lack of competitive compensation to attract skilled talent.”
The official nonfarm payrolls report will be released Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. ET. It is arguably the most closely-watched calendar event of the month. Traders can therefore expect significant volatility should the headline figure deviate sharply from the consensus forecast.