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The U.S. labor market will be in focus this week following news last week that consumer spending rose more than expected, and the rate of inflation slowed, easing worries about a possible recession.

The Labor Department’s May jobs report is scheduled to be released on Friday. Nonfarm payrolls likely dropped to 320,000 in May from 428,000 in April. The unemployment rate is expected to decline to 3.5% in May. Total nonfarm payrolls in the U.S. measured 151.3 million job positions, 0.8% below the pre-pandemic peak of 152.5 million recorded in February 2020.

On Wednesday, ADP will release its National Employment Report, which is projected to show that private payrolls likely rose to 300,000 jobs in May, up from 247,000 the month before.

The Labor Department will also release its April Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report on Wednesday. Job openings hit a record 11.5 million in March, amid a historically tight labor market, and are projected to have declined slightly to 11.4 million openings.

The Labor Department will release its report on initial claims for state unemployment benefits on Thursday. Those are expected to remain unchanged at 210,000 new claims for the latest week.

“The labor market has been one of the strongest legs of the U.S. economy for the past year, but last week, major tech firms like Microsoft announced a slowdown in their hiring plans for the rest of the year. That could be the first signs of softening in the labor market as the economy slows,” stated Caleb Silver, Editor-in-Chief of Investopedia.

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