U.S. News

Friday's Jobs Data Forces Market to Play Catch-Up on Monday


Uncle Sam will release key employment data Friday when the stock market is closed, forcing investors to play catch-up on Monday.

Economists expect the Labor Department to report that nonfarm payrolls rose by 142,000 in March, while the unemployment rate is forecast to rise to 4.6% from 4.5%.

"The lack of liquidity (Friday) is going to probably give you an exaggerated response to the number," said Richard Gilhooly, senior bond strategist at BNP Paribas.

"(The employment report) has been a real catalyst on the equity side and not seeing it gives us the whole weekend to digest it," Bob Nunn, managing director at Cohen Specialists, told CNBC. "I imagine Monday could be very interesting day."

CNBC’s Steve Liesman says the market typically trades lower following this odd-ball scenario.

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“For all those folks who are indignant, like myself, that the government is releasing important economic data when stock market is closed, well, we’ll have bad memories,” Liesman said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “In fact, the jobs number comes out on Good Friday in most decades about 30% of the time.”

The stock market tries to play catch-up on the following Monday, but the results are typically downbeat. Here's how the Dow Jones Industrial Average has done on the Monday following the release of unemployment data on Good Friday.

April 2, 1999 -- up 174.82 points

April 5, 1996 -- down 88.51 points

April 1, 1994 -- down 42.61 points

April 1, 1988 -- down 7.46 points

April 5, 1985 -- down 6.07 points

April 1, 1983 -- down 2.42 points

Fortunately, this anomaly won’t happen again until April 2, 2010. And that gives investors plenty of time to prepare for 2012, 2015, 2021 and 2023 when they have to do it all over again.

Liesman joked: “The first record of a Good Friday falling on the first Friday of the month was 1703. Undoubtedly, the British Colonial Government also released the jobs number.”