Politicians Await Friday's Job Data

While this week began with Cyber Monday, the single busiest shopping day for online retailers, the most important economic day is Friday. Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will provide employment data to the nation. That data will move the markets as well as politicians. Democrats and Republicans will spin the numbers to support their ideological positions.    

Shoppers who decided not to take advantage of Black Friday deals at brick and mortar retailers will resort to online shopping Monday. Cyber Monday provides online consumers with significantly discounted items while avoiding crowds. Expectations are that an estimated $1.2 billion in online sales will be generated.

As consumers look forward to Cyber Monday’s deals, politicians are looking forward to Friday’s job data. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will provide the latest employment situation data which includes the number of unemployed as well as part-time employees. Expectations are that job growth, as well as economic growth, will continue to trend upward but at a modest pace.

The White House will likely use the jobs data, good or bad, to support the president’s Jobs Act which is a series of measures designed to reduce unemployment. While certain pieces have been enacted, like helping unemployed veterans, remaining components of the bill are unlikely pass Congress. Those parts include infrastructure projects as well as additional funding to hire more teachers and first responders.

Democrats will point to any positive data as indication that the president’s economic policies have worked. They will state that jobs are being created under Democratic leadership but more must be done. In order to continue the growth, they will reason, the remaining pieces of the Jobs Act must be passed.

Republicans, on the other hand, will point to the positive data and state that the economy is recovering, although slowly. They will agree that more must be done but will state that increasing government spending is not the answer. They will reason that reducing the tax burden on businesses and individuals will lead to more spending and more jobs. 

Negative jobs data will be bad for both parties. According to the latest ratings, only 12% of Americans approve of Congress’ performance. We can expect that number to drop with any increase in unemployment. We can also expect more finger pointing and political animosity with negative jobs data. In any case, Democrats and Republicans are waiting for Friday.

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