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SocGen’s bold call: Sub-7% unemployment ahead

Thursday, 9 Jan 2014 | 2:39 PM ET
SocGen economist: What 6-handle on unemployment means for Fed
Thursday, 9 Jan 2014 | 1:02 PM ET
Societe Generale Chief U.S. Economist Aneta Markowska says December's jobs report will show 6.9 percent unemployment. She predicts what this will mean for the Fed's tapering timeline, with CNBC's Jackie DeAngelis and the Futures Now Traders.

Investors are eagerly awaiting Friday's jobs report, which will shed light on how many Americans were hired in the month of December. And while most economists expect the unemployment rate to stay put at 7 percent, Societe Generale's chief U.S. economist, Aneta Markowska, expects the unemployment rate to drop below 7 percent for the first time since November 2008.

Markowska expects to see 225,000 on the nonfarm payrolls number, "but I think the interesting story will be the unemployment rate. We're looking for a 6-handle—6.9—so quite an important milestone," Markowska said on Thursday's episode of "Futures Now."

(Read more: Jobs report could show things are looking up)

The economist sees the unemployment rate continuing to drop throughout the year, which could pose a policy issue for the Federal Reserve.

As recently as in its December statement, the Federal Open Market Committee "reaffirmed its expectation that the current exceptionally low target range for the federal funds rate of 0 to ¼ percent will be appropriate at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6½ percent."

Jessica Cortes looks for part-time work at Carter's Children's Wear during a job fair in Sunrise, Fla.
Getty Images
Jessica Cortes looks for part-time work at Carter's Children's Wear during a job fair in Sunrise, Fla.

"By midyear, I think we'll hit 6.5, which is the Fed's threshold for future rate increases, and that will put a lot of pressure on the Fed's exit timeline," Markowska said.

"My assumption is that they do speed up the tapering process sometime in the spring ... but I think they will resist the better data when it comes to forward guidance on rates. I think there is very little appetite to bring forward that liftoff."

(Read more: Wien on 2014: More jobs, stronger US growth—and Obamacare that works)

This could be a great scenario for bulls.

"The combination of better data and the Fed resisting that tightening cycle bodes well for the entire economy, and for risky assets," Markowska said.

She is not alone in her view that unemployment is set to drop below 7 percent. Joseph LaVorgna, the chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank, sees the unemployment rate going even lower, to 6.8 percent.

"December was a solid month for employment indicators," he pointed out in a Thursday note.

—By CNBC's Alex Rosenberg. Follow him on Twitter: @CNBCAlex.

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