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Week ahead: Market focus on US jobs report

April 1, 2024

As the world’s economies continue to navigate the post-pandemic landscape, key indicators from the United States, Switzerland, and Canada offer insights into the ongoing recovery and challenges faced by various sectors. The upcoming weeks are set to deliver pivotal data on services sector performance, inflation rates, and employment changes that will shed light on the economic direction of these countries. Below, we delve into the specifics of each report and what analysts are anticipating.

U.S. ISM Services PMI Takes a Slight Dip

In the United States, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) saw a slight decline to 52.6 in February 2024, down from a four-month peak of 53.4 in January. This metric is crucial as it reflects the health of the services sector, which constitutes a significant portion of the U.S. economy. The anticipated PMI for March, set to be unveiled on 2 April 2024, is expected to hold steady at 52.6, signaling continued expansion in the services sector, albeit at a tempered pace.

Switzerland’s Inflation Rate on the Rise

Moving to Europe, Switzerland reported an uptick in its inflation rate to 0.6% in February 2024, a significant jump from the 0.2% recorded in the preceding month. This increase was primarily driven by higher costs for housing rentals and air transport. Analysts are closely watching the Swiss economy and forecast a further inflation rise of 0.3% for March 2024, with the official figures scheduled for release on 4 April 2024. This gradual increase in inflation could signal a strengthening consumer demand and economic activity in the country.

Canadian Employment Figures Show Growth

In Canada, the employment landscape showed positive momentum with the addition of 40.7K jobs in February 2024, an improvement over the 37.3K jobs added in January. However, the unemployment rate edged higher to 5.8% in February, up from 5.7% the month before. The focus now turns to the March 2024 employment report, expected on 5 April 2024. Analysts predict a more modest job growth of 25K, with unemployment anticipated to tick slightly higher to 5.9%. These figures suggest that while the job market remains robust, it faces headwinds that could moderate growth.

U.S. Job Market Shows Resilience Amidst Challenges

Lastly, the U.S. job market continued to demonstrate resilience with the economy adding 275K jobs in February 2024, surpassing the revised figure of 229K in January. Despite this strong job growth, the unemployment rate increased to 3.9%, the highest level since January 2022. Looking ahead to March 2024, analysts are forecasting the addition of 200K jobs, with the unemployment rate expected to remain steady at 3.9%. The upcoming jobs report, due on 5 April 2024, will be crucial in assessing whether the U.S. labor market can sustain its momentum amidst economic uncertainties.

As these economic indicators unfold, they will provide valuable insights into the health and trajectory of the global economy. Stakeholders, from policymakers to investors, will be watching closely to gauge the effectiveness of current economic policies and to strategize for the future amidst a landscape of ongoing challenges and opportunities.