Non-Farm Payrolls also known as NFP, is reported monthly by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to give a timely glimpse into employment changes inside of the United States. Ultimately this report can give traders insight into whether the US economy is expanding or contracting while directly influences the decisions of policy makers such as the US Federal Reserve. With this in mind let’s take a closer at this news event, so we can better understand NFP and its potential impact on marks.
First, NFP looks specifically at net changes in employment as jobs are created or subtracted in an economy in any given month. The term Non-Farm is used since farm / agricultural workers are not included in the employment count. The decision to not include agricultural jobs lies in these jobs being largely seasonal that could possibly produce small temporary shifts in labor reporting. For this reason certain government employees, private household employees and nonprofit organization are also not included in the count. Below we can see a composite of past NFP events through 2008. These numbers have been relatively stagnant over the past year, so traders often focus on small changes in NFP for direction, which often causes market volatility.