Ahead of the big US jobs and unemployment report Oct. 5, it’s worth spotlighting the diverging consumer feelings about labor markets in some of the largest developed-market economies. After standardizing consumer sentiment survey data in Japan, the US, Europe and Britain, JP Morgan economists find:
the most striking improvement has been in the subindex tracking labor market expectations; at 2.0 [standard deviations] above its long-run average, US consumer optimism about twelve-month-forward labor market performance is at a six-month high.
With the ongoing slowdown in China showing signs of jumping to commodity countries closely tied to the People’s Republic, and the continuing struggles in Europe, it’s far from clear that the optimism in the US can last. And the rising optimism about US jobs could make it more likely that a jobs report that shows the US economy plodding along might look even more disappointing to investors and — we’re talking to you, Mr. Obama — voters.