A virtual cottage industry in handicapping tomorrow’s important monthly labor report has sprouted up this week in the financial media as everyone seems to have an idea or two about which way the unemployment rate will go and how many jobs were created in April.
The latest data has been mixed. Private payroll processor Automatic Data Processing reported yesterday that private sector job growth came in at just 119,000 last month, the smallest gain since last fall. Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported today that planned job cuts rose 7.1% from March to April, however, the latest data from Gallup indicate that job creation is at a four-year high as indicated below.
Also this morning, the Labor Department reported that weekly jobless claims tumbled from an upwardly revised 392,000 (originally reported as 386,000 and now dangerously close to the psychologically important 400,000 level) to just 365,000 for the week ending April 28th, the lowest total in a month, as the key four-week moving average rose again to 383,500.
It should be a fun Friday morning.