December Jobs Forecast
The Street is looking for a gain in payroll employment of about 115,000 in December. The ADP data from this week has some thinking the report will be weak. Our own forecasting model, which has a nice historic fit using a few key variables(check out the charts here), suggests that the gains will be stronger than expected.
A problem in forecasting is that the "real answer" is not the one that will be reported on Friday. That number is subject to change over the next two months as more establishments file their reports. It is also subject to revision when payroll survey results are benchmarked against state employment records.
Despite the perils in trading based upon this series, it remains a top market influence. You can try out your own forecasting skill at our Payroll Employment Game site. You can learn a lot about the employment report without risking any money. You might even win our prize for the high score.