Thursday marks the end of the holiday-shortened week, and the government's monthly employment report should provide plenty of fireworks well before traders escape for the Fourth of July holiday. The Labor Department will post its nonfarm payrolls report for June at 8:30 a.m. EDT Thursday, a day earlier than usual, because the markets are closed Friday. Economists polled by Reuters expect that about 375,000 jobs were lost this month, compared with May's loss of 345,000. The unemployment rate probably swelled from the 9.4% reported in May, those economists predict. However, the worse-than-expected ADP ( ADP) employment report, released Wednesday, has some fearing the government's job-loss count for June will be higher than many expect. The ADP report showed that the private sector lost 473,000 jobs in June, more than the 400,000 jobs economists expected. On the positive side, May's decline was revised to 485,000 from 532,000, ADP said. Not everyone is scared of the nonfarm payrolls data after the ADP number, though. Ian Shepherdson, chief economist with High Frequency Economics, admits that on the face of it, the ADP report is not supportive of his view that the official June payroll number will decline by 250,000, but he argues the ADP number is fallible. "Even after the upward revision to May, it was still 140,000 -- too gloomy relative to the actual headline," Shepherdson reasons. The government's official number for May was a loss of 345,000. "It is not clear what prompted this error, but we think there is a good chance of a repeat performance in June. The labor market still stinks, but we think it will be less bad than expected tomorrow."
In addition to the Labor Department's report, weekly jobless claims data and May factory orders will be released Thursday morning. There is little in way of stock-specific news, with the earnings calendar virtually empty ahead of the long weekend.