Weather may have been messing with this winter's jobs data in a big way.
Goldman Sachs economists forecast 170,000 jobs were created in March, but they say that number could have been 30,000 to 60,000 higher were it not for the weather. March's employment report is released Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. ET.
There were 235,000 jobs added in February, and Goldman economists say that unseasonably warm weather in that month could have been responsible for boosting payroll growth by 30,000 to 50,000 jobs.
Wall Street's consensus forecast is 180,000 for March, according to Thomson Reuters. Other firms also have lower forecasts for nonfarm payrolls due to weather considerations. UBS is at 155,000, and JPMorgan Chase economists expect 140,000 nonfarm payrolls.
The Goldman Sachs economists note that labor market fundamentals remain strong and that different measures, like the Conference Board labor market differential, are at cycle highs. That differential shows that workers haven't been this confident about the job market since the year 2001.
"However, we believe the sharp drop in temperatures and the early-month winter storms will depress payroll growth in weather-sensitive categories. Winter Storm Stella impacted the Midwest and East Coast early in the payroll survey week — and much of the snow that accumulated during the storm did not melt until Thursday or Friday. We believe the weather impact could be particularly large in comparison to February, which was marked by unseasonably warm weather and limited snowfall," the economists wrote.
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