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Thursday, February 05, 2015

Goldman Sachs Employment Forecast: 210,000 jobs added, Unemployment Rate decline to 5.5%

by Calculated Risk on 2/05/2015 12:40:00 PM

Note: Yesterday I wrote: Preview for January Employment Report: Taking the Under

From Goldman Sachs economist David Mericle: January Payrolls Preview

We forecast nonfarm payroll job growth of 210k in January, below the consensus forecast of 230k. Payroll employment growth exceeded 250k in each of the last four months and averaged 246k over the 12 months of 2014, a substantial pick-up from the 194k average gain in 2013. On balance, labor market indicators were softer in January, with the decline in the ISM non-manufacturing employment index the most notable sign of slower hiring. We also expect a moderately positive two-month back-revision. The January report will also include annual benchmark revisions to payroll employment, but the preliminary revisions released in September indicated very little change.
We expect employment gains to push the unemployment rate down to 5.5% in January from an unrounded 5.565% in December, though new population controls that will be included with the January report create some uncertainty.
The two-tenths decline in average hourly earnings was the major surprise of the December payrolls report. But as we argued last month, calendar distortions and an unusual pattern of holiday retail hiring likely accounted for most of the downside surprise. We therefore expect average hourly earnings to rebound this month, growing an above-trend +0.4% in January, although we see some risk of a softer January gain coupled with an upward revision to December. Average hourly earnings rose just 1.7% over the year ending in December, contributing to the soft 2.1% year-on-year increase in our wage tracker. We expect an acceleration to around 2.75% by year-end, still well below the 3-4% rate of wage growth that Fed Chair Janet Yellen has identified as normal.
emphasis added