Nonfarm Payrolls Weak; Hourly Earnings Stronger

by Archer Financial Services | Mar 08, 2019

By Alan Bush | Senior Financial Economist at ADMIS   


Stock index futures declined in the overnight trade on news that China’s exports tumbled by the most in three years in February, while imports fell for the third consecutive month.

There was additional pressure when the substantially weaker than expected headline U.S. nonfarm payroll report was released. Nonfarm payrolls increased 20,000 in February, when up 175,000 was anticipated.

The selling was limited due to stronger numbers for hourly earnings and the unemployment rate. Hourly earnings increased .4% when a gain of .3% was estimated and the    unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, which compared to expectations of 3.9%.   

The labor force participation rate, which is the percentage of Americans working or looking for a job, held unchanged at 63.2% in February, as expected.

Housing starts increased 18.6% in January from the prior month to an annual rate of 1.230 million. Residential building permits, rose 1.4% from December to an annual pace of 1.345 million.  Economists had expected a 9.5% increase for starts and a 2.7% decrease for permits.

At 9:00pm central time Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will deliver a speech on Monetary Policy Normalization and Review at the 2019 Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

I expect futures to at least partly recover from the morning selling.



The U.S. dollar declined following the release of the nonfarm payrolls report.

The Canadian dollar and the Australian dollar are higher in spite of sharply lower crude oil prices, which suggests traders are focusing more on interest rate differential expectations.

Some of the strength in the Canadian dollar can be explained by news that employers in Canada added 55,900 jobs in February, which far exceeded analyst expectations, while the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8%.



Futures are underperforming the news today, which suggests a move to lower prices on the day from the current higher prices.

Financial futures markets are predicting an 80% probability that the fed funds rate will remain unchanged at the current level of 2.25%-2.50% this year. There is a 20% chance for a 25 basis point decline in 2019.

A U.S.-China trade agreement, or strong hint of one, would be a catalyst to take futures lower.



March 19 S&P 500

Support    2719.00      Resistance    2753.00


March 19 U.S. Dollar Index

Support    97.110        Resistance    97.630


March 19 Euro Currency

Support    1.11870     Resistance    1.12590


March 19 Japanese Yen

Support    .89580       Resistance    .90520


March 19 Canadian Dollar

Support    .74250       Resistance    .74770


March 19 Australian Dollar

Support    .7000         Resistance    .7063


June 19 Thirty Year Treasury Bonds

Support    145^10      Resistance     146^8


April 19 Gold

Support    1283.0       Resistance    1307.0


May 19 Copper

Support    2.8700       Resistance    2.9250


April 19 Crude Oil

Support    54.55         Resistance    56.77

For more information about these markets, please contact Alan at 312.242.7911  or via email at alan.bush@admis.com. Thank you.

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