The March 30 week will include all of the early-month data, from manufacturing ISM Monday to employment set for release on Good Friday. Nonfarm payrolls are expected to increase by 241,000 in March, with private payrolls seen gaining 235,000 and the unemployment rate expected to stay steady at 5.5%. Previous misses in March over the last 10 years have tended to be to the high side so there is a greater chance of an overestimate for the month. Other data for the week will include personal income, vehicle sales, manufacturing ISM and international trade.
Here is a closer look at the key data in the coming week:
NONFARM PAYROLLS FOR MARCH, FRIDAY, APRIL 3, AT 8:30 A.M. ET
Nonfarm payrolls are forecast to increase by 241,000 in March after larger-than-expected gains in the previous four months. The unemployment rate is expected stay steady at 5.5%. Hourly earnings are forecast to gain 0.2%, while the average workweek is expected to hold steady at 34.6 hours for what will be the sixth month in a row. If the payrolls forecast were realized and there was no major revision to the January and February readings, the first quarter average would remain well below the fourth quarter average most recently recorded as a 324,000 gain.
Over the last 10 years of forecasts for March payrolls, there were seven overestimates and three underestimates. The absolute average miss of 47,900 over that 10-year period was larger than the 33,900 average over the same 10-year period for February payrolls. Given the larger size and number of overestimates over the period, and the fact that the February 2015 gain was sharply underestimated, there is a risk of an overestimate for March.
The 295,000 payrolls gain in February marked a fourth straight underestimate, but a downward revision to January payrolls provided some offset. The downward revision to January was only the second one in the last 12 months, along with June 2014. As a result, there is a still a greater risk of an upward revision to the February data than for a downward revision.
PERSONAL INCOME AND PCE FOR FEBRUARY, MONDAY, MARCH 30 AT 8:30 A.M. ET
Personal income is expected to grow 0.3% in February, as payrolls rose 295,000, hourly earnings were up 0.1%, and the average workweek held steady. Nominal PCE is seen increasing by 0.3% on a 0.6% decline in retail sales. Excluding vehicles, retail sales were down 0.1% and were down 0.2% also excluding a rebound in the volatile gasoline component. The core PCE price index is seen gaining 0.1% after a 0.1% rise in January.
MNI CHICAGO REPORT FOR MARCH, TUESDAY, MARCH 31 AT 9:45 A.M. ET
The MNI Chicago report's business barometer is expected to increase to a reading of 52.8 in March after plunging to 45.8 in February. Other regional data already released suggest a slowdown in the pace of growth.
CONSUMER CONFIDENCE FOR MARCH, TUESDAY, MARCH 31 AT 10:00 A.M. ET
The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence is forecast to fall slightly to 95.5 in March after retracing in February to 96.4 from January's seven-year high. While gasoline price rebounded in some place, they remain extremely low, a positive for confidence.
CONSTRUCTION SPENDING FOR FEBRUARY, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1 AT 10:00 A.M. ET
Construction spending is expected to gain 0.1% in February following January's decline. Housing starts plunged 17.0% in February due to weather, suggesting a pullback in private residential construction after gains in the previous two months.
ISM MANUFACTURING INDEX FOR MARCH, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, AT 10:00 A.M. ET
The ISM manufacturing index is expected to fall to a reading of 52.3 in March after a fourth straight decline in February. Regional conditions were moderately, based on the already released data.
Over the last 20 years, analysts have overestimated manufacturing ISM in March eight times, with an average miss of 1.51. There were 12 underestimates by a slightly smaller 1.39 average. The overall absolute average miss was 1.44, larger than 1.37 in March. When sign is considered, the average miss was -0.23 due to the larger number of underestimates. Looking at just the last 10 years, when there was an even split of fiver overestimates and five underestimates, the absolute average miss was 1.23, smaller than the 1.41 average in March.
WEEKLY JOBLESS CLAIMS FOR MARCH 28 WEEK, THURSDAY, APRIL 2 AT 8:30 A.M. ET
The level of initial jobless claims is expected to climb by 3,000 to 285,000 in the March 28 week after a 9,000 drop in the previous week. The four-week moving average fell by 7,750 to 297,000 in the March 21 week after posting 304,750 in the March 14 week. The February 28 week’s 325,000 level will roll off the four-week average calculation as the current week's is added, which would result in a drop of 10,000 in the moving average if the MNI forecast is realized, all else being equal.
Seasonal adjustment factors expect unadjusted claims to post a modest rise in the March 28 week after a 4,371 drop in the previous week. In the comparable week a year ago, unadjusted claim rose by 20,790. Seasonal factors had expected only a modest rise, so claims rose by 22,000 that week.
INTERNATIONAL TRADE FOR FEBRUARY, THURSDAY, APRIL 2, AT 8:30 A.M. ET
The international trade gap is expected to fall to $41.0 billion in February following a sharp movements in the previous two month. Boeing reported a slight rise in aircraft deliveries to foreign buyers while manufacturing industrial production was down slightly and flat excluding motor vehicles, suggesting that exports were still soft after declines in the previous two months. At the same time, import prices rose 0.4%, but were down 0.4% excluding a sharp rebound in the price of imported petroleum products.
FACTORY ORDERS FOR FEBRUARY, THURSDAY, APRIL 2 AT 10:00 A.M. ET
Factory orders are expected to hold steady in February, as durable goods orders were already reported down 1.4% and nondurable goods orders are forecast to increase.
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