With March unemployment data to be released April 2, some are anticipating what potentially lower jobless numbers will all mean for the financial markets and the economy as a whole. However, that data will come with the caveat that it will be misleading because it will include temporary jobs driven by hiring for the 2010 census.
On CNBC’s March 29 “Squawk Box,” CME floor reporter Rick Santelli was asked how to interpret the expected improvement. He warned it isn’t the kind of job creation that is good for a sustained economic recovery.
“You know, I think it’s fascinating,” Santelli said. “Most experts would agree, the kind of job creation we're going to see is welcome but it isn't the kind we need in the big picture. But having said that, yes, I think that the markets will act in a way that will show a robustness if the number comes in a couple of hundred thousand and I think it's kind of silly.”
“I think traditional media is going to overplay this,” Santelli said. “I think markets like interest rates will overcompensate, but they will adjust back because I don't think anybody believes that the 200,000-300,000 pace we could see this month is going to maintain itself for many months in a row.”
“Squawk Box” co-host Becky Quick asked Santelli how to interpret a higher number, of potentially up to 300,000 jobs, if it is inflated from census hiring. According to Santelli, it’ll send waves through the markets, even through the market will be observing Good Friday when the data is released.
“Well, you know I think the market, many want to believe, many want to believe in the green shoots,” Santelli said. “They want to believe that optimism is part of the medicine. You know, I'm not sure if I'm in that camp but I think there's going to be a couple of three months in a row here, where whether it's GDP or whether it’s job data, that's going to have the possibility to look better. I think those that understand that this type of job creation isn't going to last and it isn't going to ultimately make up the 200,000 we need just to remain neutral, but it will move markets, yes. And I think interest rates on this holiday Friday, should we get a 250,000 or higher number, is going to be wild. And it shouldn't be, but it will.”
Joe Kernen, co-host of “Squawk Box,” predicted Obama administration officials will be reluctant to acknowledge the census hiring and its impact on the upcoming unemployment data.
“You won't hear anyone mention census, either. I guarantee it,” Kernen said. “Not in the administration. Not when they're taking the victory laps for 250,000.”