Brian Jones, Research Analyst at Societe Generale, suggests that the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) update on the employment situation in January will mark the first of two reports released before the March 15-16 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Key Quotes “Our analysis suggests that hiring remained robust, underutilization of labor resources diminished and wage gains quickened during the reference period. All else equal, this set of data would support the case for further tightening in the year ahead. We expect government statisticians to report that nonfarm payrolls expanded by 245,000 in January – a touch below the autumn quarter’s breakneck 284,000-job pace. Joblessness probably narrowed as well at the beginning of the New Year, leaving the civilian unemployment rate at the 4.9% level that monetary policymakers’ generally associate with full employment. Oft-discussed calendar quirks associated with the termination date of the establishment survey, combined with scheduled increases in state minimum wage rates, suggest that average hourly earnings jumped by 0.4% in January – the largest gain since last August. The mean work span of all private workers is forecast to clock in at 34.5 hours for a third straight month.” For more information, read our latest forex news.