What investors are looking for in today's US jobs report

Peter Spence
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Stocks are moving higher ahead of this afternoon's US labour market report.

The headline nonfarm payrolls number is what most investors are concerned with, and is expected to show that 200,000 jobs were added in the US this March.

There's a continued debate as to whether the weakness in recent US data is down to some really bad weather, or because the economy is genuinely struggling.

Analysts at Societe Generale say that they're with the policymakers' and believe "the recent soft patch of domestic economic data primarily reflect unusually harsh winter weather conditions."

Today's number should help to cast some light on just how badly that weather hit the US' recovery, and will provide the Federal Reserve's policy setting committee ahead of their next meeting, on the 29-30 April.

Marshall Gittler, head of global FX strategy at IronFX Global, says that a payrolls print at consensus would "reassure the market that the slowdown in hiring in recent months was indeed just because of the bad weather and that the US economy is healthy."

"That would probably send US interest rates higher and reinforce the perceived divergence with Eurozone monetary policy and therefore send the dollar higher", says Gittler.

Later we'll bring you the latest predictions from our favourite feline economist - Geoffrey Boycat - who has dressed in the style of Bloomberg editor-at-large and Bloomberg Surveillance host Tom Keene.

Boycat beat analysts in February, with a nonfarm payrolls guess closer to the official estimate than a survey of top economists. We'll see whether this cat can beat the professional economists again when the number is released at 1.30pm.