Jobs Data Update: U.K., Switzerland, & Euro zone

U.K.

April’s Job data for the U.K. looked very promising, with the jobless rate sliding down by 0.1% to 5.5% and average weekly earnings posting a better-than-expected read at 1.9% (1.7% expected, 1.7% previous). The only item going against the trend was claimant count change, which posted a worse than expected figure: -12.6K actual v.s. -20.5K expected, -16.7K previous. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s still all good because a negative figure means less people are claiming unemployment benefits. Overall, U.K. jobs data seems pretty solid.

Hold your horses! We’re not done here. Remember the recent BoE inflation report? In that report, BoE officials stated that inflation fell to zero in March. And in his opening remarks, BoE Governor Mark Carney also stated that inflation may temporarily turn negative in the near term BUT will go back up by the end of the year.

You know what that means? If average earnings is going up, and the price of goods is going down (and may go down further), and more people are getting jobs, then that means potentially more consumer spending down the road, fueling further economic growth. So perhaps the BoE’s projections are right and their optimism and openness to a future rate hike isn’t misplaced after all. And based on the pound’s recent price action, it seems most forex traders are optimistic on the pound as well.

Switzerland

There’s really nothing much to say about Switzerland’s jobs data other than that it’s stable as usual. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate increased slightly by 0.1% to 3.3%, the first time that the jobless rate reached this level since April 2011. But it’s still within the 3% range, that is to say that it’s still very stable and very, very low. And that’s good.

So what does it mean for the Swissy? Nothing much, really. Just like Japan, Switzerland is more reliant on its industry than on consumer spending. The Swiss economy is also driven by foreign investments thanks to Switzerland’s status as a safe haven for investors. So unless the Swiss jobless rate suddenly goes up to 5% or falls to 1%, we’re unlikely to see any reaction from the market.

In short and similar to Japan, Swiss jobs data isn’t really as important to the Swiss economy when compared with other major economies, but still good to know.

Euro Zone

Being a monetary union of 19 European Union states, updated jobs data for the euro zone is harder to come by thanks to an apparent lack of reporting standards among member countries, with some countries reporting monthly while others are reporting quarterly (I’m looking at you, France and Spain).

With that said, the only available jobs data for the euro zone is for March, so I’d understand completely if you guys decide not to read what I painstakingly wrote. Seriously, this required lots of blood, sweat, and tears to write, you guys. Well, I didn’t really bleed, but I did sweat a lot (due to the summer heat) and whimper a bit (because my pet squirrel died) while I was writing this.

At any rate, the euro zone jobless rate remained stable at 11.3%, much better than the 11.7% reading for March 2014. Productivity also increased modestly from 101.80 to 102.00. Regarding member states, Germany had the lowest jobless rate at 4.7% while Greece, quite naturally, had the highest at 25.7%. Overall, the euro zone’s jobs data indicates stability, but it’s still in poor shape.

So where do we go from here? Well, based on recent economic data, the euro zone’s economy grew by 0.1% to 0.4% for the 1st quarter, less than expected but a growth is still growth. Perhaps this growth will result in further declines in the jobless rate in the coming months.

Okay, so what does all that mean for the euro? First, with many member states, forex traders tend to focus only on individual members, usually Germany due to Germany’s major contribution to the euro zone economy. Second, overall euro zone jobs data seems to only have a limited impact recently since the focus is still on the prevailing Greek drama.