Monday, August 17, 2009

The Economic Situation Report and the Forex Market

The Forex market, like most investment markets, is often glued to economic reports that are published on a monthly or even quarterly basis.
Some of the more common economic reports or indicators that can influence and shape trade decisions in an investment market are the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Housing Price Index (HPI), and the Employment Situation Report. The Employment Situation Report is one of the most popular indicators around, where changes in the employment rate and hourly wage rates can influence overall currency rates.
What exactly is the Employment Situation Report?
The Employment Situation Report, also commonly called the Labor Report, is an economic indicator that basically reports on the number of people out of work in the country, as well as on general wage rates, etc. The first part of the Employment Situation Report is called the household survey, which surveys approximately 60,000 households throughout the country about those out of work. From that number, the general unemployment rate is calculated. In other words, the household survey is a very powerful survey that helps determine the country’s overall unemployment rate.
The household survey is basically a lagging indicator, which means that any changes that occur in the number of people out of work usually happen after changes in an economy. If the economy is strong, the number of people out of work will generally soon decrease (positive effect on the currency rate), while if the economy slows down, the effect on the number of unemployed people might not be felt until a few months later (negative effect on currency rate).
The household survey is also countercyclic in nature, which means that the overall unemployment rate moves in the opposite direction of the overall economic trends. If the economy is in a growth mode, that means that the unemployment rate will decrease, while if the economy is weakening, then the unemployment figure will increase.
The establishment survey, which is the second part of the Economic Situation Report, measures hours worked and overall hourly earnings throughout the country. It does this by surveying about 400,000 businesses nationwide. It is considered a coincident economic indicator, as it changes when the economy changes. If the number of hours worked and the overall wage increases, then the economy is moving in the same direction at the same time.

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