The 467K increase in nonfarm payrolls in January was surprising, given that COVID case counts peaked around the survey week for the employment report. The employment gains were broad-based, and benchmark revisions to the previous year's data suggested that the labor market is a bit closer to full employment than previously believed.
There is plenty of concerning news in the world right now, from the Russia-Ukraine conflict to sky-high inflation. But the U.S. employment recovery continues to be a bright spot amid the carnage. Total nonfarm payrolls have recovered 87% of the losses incurred during the pandemic, and we expect continued strong gains in February. Our forecast of 450K new jobs in February is predicated on lower COVID cases, robust labor demand and improving labor supply. We project that U.S. employment will recover to its pre-pandemic level by year-end, giving the Fed plenty of cover to tighten monetary policy at a steady pace this year as the central bank fights above-target inflation.
Friday’s February nonfarm payrolls report will definitely take a back seat to international developments
Barclays NFP Forecast: 450K
Unemployment Rate Forecast: 3.9%
Citigroup NFP Forecast: 510K
Unemployment Rate Forecast 3.8%
Credit Suisse NFP Forecast: 250K
Unemployment Rate Forecast: 3,9%
Goldman Sachs NFP Forecast: 500K
Unemployment Rate Forecast: 3.8%
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