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Economic Data (USA)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Employment Situation Report for January 2006

The Employment Situation Report for January, 2006 was released today:

Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Consensus: +0.3%
Actual: +0.4%

Non-farm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Consensus: 275K
Actual: +193K

Average Workweek
Consensus: 33.8 hrs
Actual: 33.8 hrs

Unemployment Rate
Consensus: 4.9%
Actual: 4.7%

Economist, bankers and investors pay very close attention to the monthly Employment Situation report as it offers penetrating insight as to the current and near-future state of the overall U.S. economy. If Americans are earning more money and unemployment is low, then that typically translates to more money being pumped into the economy (and vice versa.)

If the Employment Situation report indicates wage inflation, then that usually translates to an increased likelihood that The Fed will raise interest rates @ the next FOMC meeting; consequently, stock and bond prices tend to wane, because higher interest rates mean less profits for the banking sector (higher mortgage rates = a slower mortgage / mortgage refinance market) and less consumer spending in general (credit card rates go up, etc.)

The "consensus" is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

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