Weekly outlook: Jobs data to show health of US economy

Key events for UK wealth managers for the week starting 3 April

Photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash


Monday 3 April

  • – First-half results from Tracsis
  • – Final manufacturing purchasing manager’s indices (PMIs) in Japan, Asia, Europe, the UK and US
  • – US car sales
  • – In Europe, a trading update from Repsol

Tuesday 4 April

  • – Full-year results from Saga
  • – Trading statements from Renewi and Anexo
  • – Interest rate decision from the Reserve Bank of Australia
  • – OPEC meeting
  • – US factory orders
  • – US job openings and non-farm payrolls

As the debate over the direction of the US economy rages on, a central talking point is whether or not there will be a hard or soft landing. AJ Bell’s Russ Mould and Danni Hewson suggested that some will point to the strong jobs market, low unemployment, and decent wage growth as signs that the US is still powering along.

However, Mould and Hewson said this was a slightly dangerous argument, given that jobs data is a lagging indicator, but said eyes would still be trained on the two data sets coming out this week.

The first, the Job Openings and Labour Turnover Survey (Jolts), will reveal the number of job vacancies in the US, which Mould and Hewson said was still very high by historic standards.

The pair added: “In January, the number of vacancies dipped by 400,000 but still came in at 10.8 million. Bears will say that is below the March 2022 peak of 12 million. Bulls will say is it higher than normal for the 20-year history of this dataset and also miles above the 7.1 million vacancies on offer in 2020 just before Covid struck.”

The second set of data, due on Friday, is the non-farm payroll, unemployment, and wage growth figures.

Mould and Hewson added: “This year has started strongly, with 504,000 non-farm-based jobs created in January and another 311,000 in February. Economists will look to the March number and also any revisions to January and February to take the temperature of the US economy.

“Upward revisions usually indicate strength, downward revisions can be suggestive of a weakening or loss of economic momentum.”

  • – In Japan, a trading update from Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing

Wednesday 5 April

  • – Full-year results from Hilton Food, Lookers and EnQuest
  • – Trading updates from RS Group and Topps Tiles
  • – Interest rate decision from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand
  • – Final services industry purchasing manager’s indices (PMIs) in Japan, Asia, Europe, the UK and US
  • – US ADP non-farm payrolls data
  • – US weekly oil inventories
  • – In Europe, quarterly results from Sodexo, Seadrill and Barry Callebaut
  • – In the US, quarterly results from Conagra Brands

Thursday 6 April

  • – Trading statement from Ferrexpo
  • – First-quarter trading update from Robert Walters

The performance of London-headquartered recruitment specialist Robert Walters will give some indication of the state of the job market. Again, Mould and Hewson pointed out that it is a lagging indicator, owing to protracted hiring processes, but they said the report should be informative, not least because Robert Walters posted record profits in 2022.

Eponymous chief executive Robert Walters had flagged fierce competition for candidates, and wage growth to match, in the first half of 2022.

“However, he then noted increased uncertainty in the second, thanks to interest rate hikes, the ongoing war in Ukraine and spending cutbacks in the technology sector in particular,” they added.

“Analysts and shareholders will be looking for an update on these trends, especially as the shares are down by a third over the last year and making pretty heavy weather of forging anything like a recovery.”

  • – Halifax UK house price index
  • – UK purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the construction industry
  • – US Challenger, Gray & Christmas monthly job cuts data
  • – US weekly unemployment claims
  • – In the US, quarterly results from Constellation Brands, Levi Strauss and Ermenegildo Zegna

Friday 7 April

  • – Japanese wage growth figures
  • – Japanese household spending data


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