Will U.S. Job Numbers Reflect Slowdown?
The U.S. economy has shifted to a lower gear in the second quarter, as investors have been digesting data which is indicative of weaker growth. In the second quarter, GDP slowed to 2.0%, down from a robust 3.1% gain in Q1. The September PMI reports, which were released this week, pointed to weakness in the manufacturing and services sectors. The Manufacturing PMI dropped below the 50-level for a fourth consecutive month, indicating ongoing contraction. The services sector has been stronger than manufacturing, but expansion slowed in September and was weaker than expected.
The recent spate of weak data has investors concerned that key employment data will also show the effects of a slowdown. On Wednesday, ADP nonfarm payrolls for August dropped sharply to 135 thousand, compared to 195 thousand a month earlier. This was followed by jobless claims, which climbed to 219 thousand, up from 213 thousand a week earlier. On Friday, we’ll get a look at the official nonfarm payroll report. Will it follow in the path of the ADP release and slow in August? Wage growth, another key indicator, wage growth, is expected to tick lower to 0.3%, after a reading of 0.4% in the previous release. If these key employment numbers are soft, nervous investors could snap up silver and send prices higher.