This week’s packed slate of economic data reports will include an update on the labor market and new data on consumer confidence, offering fresh looks at the pace and perception of the COVID-19 recovery for many Americans.
On Friday, the Labor Department will release its June jobs report. The print is expected to show an acceleration in rehiring and a step lower in the unemployment rate, helping alleviate some of the labor shortages reported across the economy as of late.
Non-farm payrolls likely grew by 700,000 in June, according to Bloomberg consensus data. This would accelerate from the 559,000 added back in May and mark the biggest rise since March. And the unemployment rate is expected to move down to 5.6% from 5.8% in May, bringing the jobless rate closer to its pre-pandemic, 50-year low of 3.5%.
“Payrolls probably surged again in June, with the pace up from the +559,000 in May,” TD Securities strategists wrote in a note Friday. “Some acceleration in the private sector is suggested by the Homebase data, while government payrolls probably benefited from fewer than usual end-of-school-year layoffs.”
Even with a sizable monthly payroll gain, the economy would still be well off its pre-pandemic levels of employment. Heading into June, the U.S. economy was still down by more than 7 million payrolls compared to February 2020, with the deficit most pronounced in high-contact services industries like restaurants and hotels.
But both services and manufacturing companies have cited shortages of qualified workers to fill open positions, which hit a record high of over 9 million as of latest data. These supply-and-demand mismatches in the labor market – with shortages noted by firms from FedEx (FDX) to Yum Brands (YUM) — have also begun to push wages higher and created additional costs for businesses. In Friday’s report, average hourly earnings are expected to jump 3.6% year-on-year for June, accelerating from May’s 2% increase.
“Strong demand and weak supply should continue to put upward pressure on wages,” Bank of America economist Michelle Meyer wrote in a note. “Workers are quitting at a higher rate as they find better opportunities.”
However, a confluence of factors that have kept workers on the sidelines of the labor market may start to lessen in the coming months, some economists noted. Many have agreed that a combination of childcare concerns, fears of contracting COVID-19 and ongoing enhanced federal unemployment benefits have contributed to the still-elevated levels of joblessness, but that each of these should diminish as schools reopen, vaccinations continue and jobless benefits get phased out over the next several months.
“Labor supply may soon pick up,” Meyer said. “We find evidence of a quicker drop in unemployment insurance (UI) applications in states that discontinued generous federal UI benefits.”
“Four states — Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi and Missouri — opted out in June 12 and UI applications in those states have fallen faster compared to other states, according to the latest initial jobless claims figures,” she added. “With another eight states opting out in the week ending June 19 and a total of 25 states by end of the summer, more workers should return to the workforce, helping to ease wage pressures and help meet the strong labor demand in the economy.”
Another closely watched economic data print this week will be the Conference Board’s June consumer confidence index, which is expected to reflect a strong pick-up in sentiment during the recovery and heading into the summer. The report is due for release Tuesday morning.
The headline index is likely to rise to 119.0 for June from 117.2 in May, according to Bloomberg consensus data. This would mark the highest level since February 2020’s 132.6, which itself had been a near two-decade high.
Like investors, consumers have begun to warm to the notion that inflationary pressures seen during the early stages of the economic recovery may prove transitory. This has helped raise consumers’ future expectations for their spending power and boosted sentiment at large, according to other consumer sentiment surveys including the University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers.
Not only did year-ahead inflation expectations fall slightly to 4.2% in June from May’s decade peak of 4.6%, consumers also believed that the price surges will mostly be temporary,” Richard Curtin, chief economist for the Surveys of Consumers, said on Friday.
“When the pandemic first started, consumers were quite uncertain about their job and income prospects, but reported widespread declines in market prices for homes, vehicles, and household durables,” he added. “Those favorable price references have dropped to the most negative in a decade, and job and income prospects have improved, but not quite as favorable as in the last few years of the prior expansion.”
Still, in a sign of some downside risk in Tuesday’s report from the Conference Board, the University of Michigan’s June final sentiment index edged lower to 85.5, coming in below the 86.4 preliminary print, but still above May’s reading of 82.9.
Monday: Dallas Fed Manufacturing Activity Index, June (32.5 expected, 34.9 in May)
Tuesday: FHFA House Price Index, month-on-month, April (1.7% expected, 1.4% in March); S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Composite index, month-over-month, April (1.80% expected, 1.60% in March); S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Composite index, year-over-year, April (13.27% in March); Conference Board Consumer Confidence, June (119.0 expected, 117.2 in May)
Wednesday: MBA Mortgage Applications, week ended June 25 (2.1% during prior week); ADP Employment Change, June (575,000 expected, 978,000 in May); MNI Chicago PMI, June (70.0 expected, 75.2 in May); Pending home sales, month-over-month, May (-1.0% expected, -4.4% in April);
Thursday: Challenger Job Cuts, year-over-year, June (-93.8% in May); Initial jobless claims, week ended June 26 (380,000 expected, 411,000 during prior week); Continuing claims, week ended June 19 (3.39 million during prior week); Markit US Manufacturing PMI, June final (62.6 in prior print); Construction Spending month-over-month, May (0.5% expected 0.2% in April); ISM Manufacturing, June (61.0 expected, 61.2 in May)
Friday: Change in non-farm payrolls, June (700,000 expected, 559,000 in May); Unemployment rate, June (5.6% expected, 5.8% in May); Average hourly earnings year-over-year, June (3.6% expected, 2.0% in May); Average hourly earnings, month-over-month, June (0.4% expected, 0.5% in May); Trade balance, May (-$71.0 billion expected, -$68.9 billion in April); Factory orders, May (1.5% expected, -0.6% in April); Durable goods orders, May final (2.3% in prior print); Durable goods orders excluding transportation, May final (2.3% in prior print); Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, May final (-0.1% in April); Non-defense capital goods shipments excluding aircraft, May final (0.9% in prior print)
Thursday: Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) before market open
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck
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