We saw three good pieces of hiring news today. Private sector employment is up, jobless claims are down, and non-manufacturing employers are hiring more workers.
But employment data isn't always the best signal of future prosperity.
Notable that employment stats tend to lag other indicators. ISM non-mfg index shows new orders dead in water. But hiring continues, for now.— Dan Alpert (@DanielAlpert) July 3, 2013
The reason that all this employment chatter is particularly important is because achieving lower unemployment (specifically a rate of 6.5 per cent) is one of the Federal Reserve's stated goals before it starts tapering.
Tapering - a reduction in the rate of expansion of the monetary base - could have mixed effects. The lack of cheap money will likely be negative for equities, as it currently keeps many zombie firms alive.
However, if the Fed is confident enough to turn off the taps, it will likely be very confident that the outlook is good. The Fed's economic forecasts are historically more accurate than most, and they'll be putting themselves on the line by pursuing a QE exit, so they'll have to be sure that they've made the right call.
Now we look ahead to nonfarm payrolls, released on Friday. Analysts expect the jobs added (on a seasonally adjusted basis) in June to fall to 165,000 from 175,000 the month before. This number is really important to determine when we'll hit the 6.5 per cent threshold. Crucially, the participation rate will also have to play ball.
When will the US Unemployment Rate hit 6.5%? pic.twitter.com/jZQPSWj2oR— cigolo (@cigolo) July 3, 2013