US non-farm payrolls eyed as interest rate-cut expectations heat up

Economists expect non-farm payrolls to rise by 180,000 in May and the unemployment rate is predicted to remain at 3.6%.

Wage growth has become increasingly in focus

With little on the corporate calendar to keep investors pre-occupied on Friday, all eyes will be on the US non-farm payrolls report.

Last month the Labor Department revealed that US employers added 263,000 jobs in April while the unemployment rate fell to 3.6%, the lowest level in 50 years.

Average hourly earnings growth held at 3.2% over the year to April, or 0.2% month-on-month.  

The focus has become increasingly on wages since this has a material impact on inflation expectations, which the Federal Reserve takes into consideration when deciding the path for interest rates.

For this month’s report, economists expect average hourly earnings to rise by 3.2% year-on-year and 0.3% month-on-month in May.

Non-farm payrolls are forecast to rise by 180,000 and the unemployment rate is predicted to remain at 3.6%.

"Friday’s US jobs report may not be enough to stem the wave of economic pessimism sweeping over markets," ING said.

"But with broader signs that wage growth is rising, consumer spending should continue to keep the economy underpinned for the time being. We don’t expect Fed rate cuts in the immediate future."

The fed futures market shows traders see a 72% chance of a rate cut at the Fed's July 31 meeting and around a 23% chance at the June 19 meeting. 

That comes as several senior Federal Reserve officials, including Chairman Jerome Powell, appeared more open to easier monetary policy this week.

More investors have been calling for rate cuts to boost an an economy under pressure from trade fears as a result of a dispute between the US and China, and US threats to impose levies on Mexico. 

BoE inflation survey 

On this side of the pond, the Bank of England releases a survey on public expectations for inflation in a year’s time.

UK inflation rose to 2.1% in April from 1.9% in March, marginally above the Bank’s 2% target.

For most of the past two years, inflation has been rising above 2% as a weaker pound following the Brexit vote has pushed up the cost of imports.  

With Brexit uncertainty intensifying, the pound faces further downward pressure.


Significant announcements due: 

AGMs: Circassia Pharmaceuticals PLC (LON:CIR)

Economic data: US non-farm payrolls, BOE inflation survey


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