January 3, 2013
(This is Mark Vickery substituting for Sheraz Mian while he is away this week.)
What Fiscal Cliff? This morning's payroll report from ADP (ADP - Free Report) provided a big positive surprise in the private sector job market: December saw growth of 215K jobs, much higher than the 149K expected. In addition, November's ADP numbers were revised upward from 118K to 138K. So, as I said, What Fiscal Cliff?
We'd seen evidence of businesses cutting back on capital spending in the wake of fiscal cliff uncertainty, but apparently this has not translated to company payrolls, at least not in December. In addition, with a 39K gain in construction jobs, we see that the economic recovery being bolstered by the housing market -- no doubt spurred by post-Sandy building -- continues unabated.
As of now, Friday's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) non-farm payroll report is expected to be 150K new jobs in December. But this big ADP surprise may cause analysts to take a second look before tomorrow morning's BLS report. In recent months, the ADP and BLS reports have been pretty closely aligned.
Weekly jobless claims were also released this morning, rising 10K to 372K. This is above the 4-week average of 360K, but still within our post-Sandy range. The holiday season is also a very difficult one to see an adequate reflection of the overall jobs market. Even more, jobless claims data from 9 states were estimated for this morning's report due to holiday-related issues.
Yesterday, the Dow gained 300 points and the Nasdaq shot up 3%. It seems to have become clear that the fiscal cliff resolution passed by Congress -- no matter how temporary or flimsy -- has created an early new year relief rally.
Will it continue today and tomorrow? According to the quite rosy employment data this morning, chances look pretty good.