It's wages, sorry, payroll Friday ...
U.S. employers are likely to have created 193,000 new jobs last month, according to the consensus forecast for Friday's non-farm payroll report, but investors will be far more focused on the pace of wage gains in the surging U.S. economy, as odds of faster rate hikes from the Federal Reserve quietly increase and the dollar trades at a two-week high.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to report the new job additions at 8:30 eastern, although some market signals suggest the 193,000 consensus might be low, considering the robust figures reported earlier this week from payroll provide ADP, which showed 219,000 new additions last month, and yesterday's report from the National Federation of Independent Business, which showed a record high number of unfilled positions and small and medium-sized companies.
Wage data, however, is likely to drive initial market reaction, even if the non-farm payroll number tops expectations, as higher take-home pay, set against the lowest unemployment rate in at least two decades, will power consumer spending into the second half of the year. Analysts are looking for annual wage growth of around 2.7%, according to the consensus forecast, with monthly gains of 0.3%.
Headline inflation, however, is running at 2.9%, the fastest pace in six years, meaning "real" wage growth is actually negative, a dynamic that has been a consistent component of American paychecks for the past three decades.
That could make for a bullish reading of today's jobs report, with robust new additions lifting share prices, but modest wage growth limiting the reaction from the Federal Reserve.
That said, investors appear to be positioning themselves for a stronger reading, with the U.S. dollar index, a measure of the greenback's strength against a basket of six global currencies, rising to a two-week high of 95.20 in early European trading and benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds yields holding at 2.97%.
The CME Group's FedWatch tool, which attempts to assign a tradeable probability to future rate hikes, suggests investors are pricing in a 66.7% chance of a December increase, up from 64.2% yesterday and just 45.9% a month ago.
The Atlanta Fed's GDPNow estimate, a snapshot of the "running estimate of real GDP growth based on available data for the current measured quarter", suggests a quarterly growth rate of 5%, a figure that would signal 2018 GDP growth that is well ahead of President Donald Trump's 3% target.