In March, the economy added a disappointing 126,000 jobs. Expectations are that 220,000 jobs were created in April, with the range of expectations from 180,000 to 335,000 jobs added.
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Of late, job growth has averaged about 197,000 per month, still shy of an accelerating rate of job gains. Hence, at that rate of job growth, it would be January of 2016 before the Fed meets its employment threshold and could justify its first rate hike.
Some of the more "hawkish" Fed members have pointed out that wage gains have begun to accelerate, suggesting that labor market slack is diminishing more quickly that those who look at broad, underemployment, data would admit.
It's a bit of a coin toss at the moment as to whether an acceleration in job gains is on the horizon, as the energy patch is cutting a hundred thousand jobs and manufacturing data have been sluggish of late.
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The Fed's other mandate, inflation, on the other hand, has begun to creep higher, largely thanks to the recent, and sharp, spoke in oil prices. The run-up in oil and gasoline will, no doubt, push headline inflation higher in coming months, though it is rising from a base that remains below the Fed's 2-percent target.
Inflation "break-evens," as measured by the spread between inflation-protected bonds and regular Treasury bonds have been rising lately, coming close to the Fed's 2-percent target, indicating that the bond market believes inflation may be bottoming out.
We are seeing that reflected, also, in the recent rise in 10-year note yields, taking the yield to nearly 2.15 percent, the highest level we have seen in months. So, too, European interest rates, particularly in Germany, have risen sharply lately, suggesting that the deflation scare on the Continent may have passed.
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All that said, the unemployment report may still be the biggest "tell" when it comes to the Fed's move to normalize interest rate policy. If the current "soft patch" extends beyond the first quarter, and is confirmed by Friday's labor market report, Evans may be right and the first rate hike gets pushed to 2016. If employment gains blow the door off expectations, then that first rate hike will come sooner, rather than later, but it's gonna have to be a really big number!
Commentary by Ron Insana, a CNBC and MSNBC contributor and the author of four books on Wall Street. He also editor of "Insana's Market Intellgence," available at Marketfy.com. Follow him on Twitter @rinsana.