Aug 30, 2021 - Economy

What economists expect from the August jobs report

A man walks by a "Now Hiring" sign outside a store in Arlington, Va.

A man walks by a "Now Hiring" sign outside a store in Arlington, Va. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The next U.S. jobs report could be a big market-moving event.

Why it matters: The Fed wants to know if the U.S. labor market has made “substantial further progress,” the vague threshold that would give the FOMC the confidence to dial back some of its emergency bond purchase program.

By the numbers: According to FactSet, economists estimate U.S. employers added 756,500 jobs in August, which would be a slowdown from the 943,000 added in July.

  • The unemployment rate is estimated to have fallen to 5.2% in August from 5.4% the month prior.

What they’re saying: “The softening in employment activity would be consistent with other economic data that have weakened since the surge in COVID case counts due to the Delta variant,” Bank of America U.S. economist Joseph Song says.

  • “Related to that,” Wells Fargo economists write, “the FOMC is likely to again consider deteriorating public health conditions as a detriment to ‘substantial further progress,’ which removes some heft from the August employment report when it comes to determining the timing of potential tapering.”
  • In other words, assuming job growth did decelerate significantly in August, then the FOMC may wait until after its Sept. 22 meeting to announce the timing of tapering.

What to watch: The August U.S. jobs report will be released at 8:30am ET on Friday.

Go deeper: The harm the Fed wants to avoid by tapering too early

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