CNBC's Jim Cramer said Wednesday he is expecting the April jobs report will be daunting and spark a discussion about how the severity of the economic downturn.
"When we get Friday's employment report" from the Labor Department "it is going to be so bad that we're going to be debating whether we're in a serious recession or a depression," the "Mad Money" host said.
The comments come after a mixed day of trading on Wall Street. The Dow Jones dropped 218.45 points, or 0.91%, to 23,461. The S&P 500 declined 0.7% to 2,848.42 at the close. The technology sector was the bright spot in the market as the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.51% to 8,854.39.
Investors continued to gauge chances of a rebound in the U.S. economy against more gloomy economic data. Market players will also get an update on weekly unemployment claims across the country Thursday ahead of the monthly labor report.
The health-care and technology segments of the economy are in good shape, the former hedge fund manager suggested.
"If you make technology that helps businesses cut costs, especially by firing people, you're doing fine. If you make something that people literally can't live without, like medicine, you're in good shape," Cramer said. "But just about everything else is struggling here, hence the staggering number of layoffs."
Investors are trying to guess the winning and losing stocks ahead of a full reopening of the economy. The best performers during the countrywide lockdown, including Facebook, Alphabet and Microsoft, will continue their win streks, he predicted.
The list of losers, however, is now growing with consumer staples names. Those stocks are joining the slumping retail and restaurant groups, which are made of stocks that should "benefit the most from a comeback," he added.
"At the end of the day, this action makes little sense. The staples and the retailers should be moving in opposite directions," Cramer said. "I mean, either we're headed for a brutal recession or maybe we're not. In other words, somebody's wrong here."
Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Facebook, Alphabet and Microsoft.