After the now-traditional morning rush of corporate coronavirus updates, the rest of Friday will centre around economic data in the UK and US.
Following updates on manufacturing and construction in the past two days, Friday will see PMI reports on the services sector, one of the UK’s most important lead indicators.
Later in the day, the US non-farm payroll (NFP) numbers will take centre stage for traders around the world, a day after a similar monthly report from ADP and weekly initial jobless claims figures.
However, as monthly reports the ADP and NFP are much less informative than the weekly jobless claims numbers, analysts at Rabobank said, while at Capital Economics they believe Friday’s jobs report is “more or less irrelevant at this stage”.
Even so, after the shockingly big weekly jobless claims numer of 3.28mln last week, this week’s data will broaden the picture, with expectations that weekly jobless claims may have risen 3-5mln in the past week and perhaps a higher revision of the last week’s print.
The NFP report last month showed 273,000 new jobs were created in February and took the unemployment rate down to a 51-year low of 3.5%, which is now expected to rise back to 3.8% for March.
Coronavirus has since taken a huge toll on the economy, with last week’s jobless claims hitting a record 3.2mln and a SurveyUSA poll suggesting 14mln jobs have been cut, with 40mln workers having had their hours cut.
The timing of the official Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, with the count only going up to 14 March, will mean we need to wait another month for a better picture, economists said.
“April’s NFP may show job losses in eight digits, which could turn out to be the darkest day ever in the US job market,” said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM.
Announcements expected on Friday 3 April:
Economic data: US non-farm payrolls, US unemployment, US services PMI, UK services PMI