US Economy

Why I'm bearish on Friday's jobs report: Pro

Will weather dampen employment numbers?

Despite a frigid winter that many blamed for slowing economic growth, the job market did not see a "weather effect" during the last few months of soft employment data, DRW Trading Group strategist Lou Brien said Friday ahead of the March unemployment report.

During an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box," Brien said he could not see how the weather played into recent lower-than-expected jobs reports when he examined nonseasonally adjusted numbers and historical results from those months. Brien put his forecast at 150,000 new jobs added in March, much less than the 205,000 consensus prediction.

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"I'm always lower than the average guess," Brien said. "Just trying to play the odds. They're usually a little higher than the number that comes out. ... The reason why that I'm lower and the reason that I'm down at 150,000 is I don't necessarily think there's been a weather effect the last three months."

Brien said the job market will see a weather effect in the March employment report, being released at 8:30 a.m. EDT. He said the first spring month remains more sensitive to weather since since much of the hiring takes place at restaurants and services looking to move business outdoors.

Pro forecasts rise in payrolls to 250,000

RBS economist Michelle Girard put her forecast at 220,000 new jobs in March. She said some market professionals believe the number could come in even higher as the labor market plays catch-up from this winter's sluggish growth, which happened during past rough winters.

Girard doesn't see the catch-up happening until April, adding that the U.S. economy seemed due for a slowdown regardless of the weather.

"We keep getting these ebbs and flows of various reasons, but the bottom line is ... you've got an economy that's growing probably 2.5 percent and it's probably not breaking to the upside," she said on "Squawk Box." "The situation is only gradually improving."

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Maury Harris, chief economist at UBS, had the most bullish call of the morning. He put his forecast at 250,000 new jobs.

"We are seeing signs that wages are picking up," Harris said.

Bank of America's chief economist Michelle Meyer said she remains confident that the country will see stronger job growth throughout the year, and she expects to see 230,000 new jobs for March.

The heated standoffs in Washington now seem muted compared to past years, she said, and companies should begin to spend capital and generate more jobs.

"That speaks to the fact that confidence has been pretty subdued throughout this whole recovery," Meyer told CNBC. "That's starting to change. We're starting to see confidence improve."

—By CNBC's Jeff Morganteen.

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