The Next Big Economic Data Point

04/03/2015 12:01 am EST

Focus: MARKETS

Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor, JubakPicks.com

The economic data has been mixed recently, some good, but others not great, says MoneyShow's Jim Jubak, so he is focused on the next jobs report.

Here's a question for the week ahead: Will the real US economy please stand up?

What we're getting is a vacillation, a yo-yo-ing; pick your metaphor, in terms of data between an economy that looks weaker than expected and an economy that looks then stronger than expected, so we get things like the third revised of fourth quarter.

We're not talking about way in the past, fourth quarter GDP, the third revise came in the middle of March. It came in at 2.2% growth for the quarter instead of the 2.4% that economists were hoping for. Not terrible, certainly better than you're getting in the EuroZone and Japan, but certainly not the 2.5% to 3% growth that we were seeing or the 5% growth that we saw in the third quarter, that was kind of negative.

Then week after that you get better than expected confidence numbers, you get better than expected housing sales numbers for existing and for new homes. You get decent retail numbers, and suddenly, the economy looks like it's strong again.

The next big data point, if you will, comes on Friday, which is April 3, and what we're getting then is March jobs numbers. Basically, we'll be able to see how many jobs the economy has created and that'll give us a kind of good read about where we were in March as well as we'll get income numbers that will show whether we're getting the income growth that might push consumer spending up in April, May, and June.

It's a big number.

Right now we're coming off of a very strong February number where the economy created 295,000 jobs. Nobody is expecting that this go round. The consensus is that we'll get something like 255,000, 260,000 jobs. If it comes in there that's decent strength but won't really answer the question of how strong the economy is, how weak the economy is.

That'll sort of keep us in this vacillating trend.

That's actually what I expect, but, of course, there's always the possibility that we'll see a big one month swing down or a big one month swing up. That's likely to have a fairly strong effect on the stock market even though these one month swings don't mean much of anything. Watch Friday; watch the jobs report for March.

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