Employment Report on Friday May Not Seem All That Good

Last Updated Apr 1, 2010 1:40 PM EDT

The monthly employment report due Friday morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to be the first overwhelmingly solid one since the job market began to tank two years ago. With net job creation for March being widely forecast to reach 250,000, it even stands a chance of being the best report since early 2006.

Whether or not Wall Street gets what it wants, it may discover that it wanted more than it got. Much of the big number will be the result of temporary federal government hiring for the census, and another fair chunk will represent a snapback from the previous month, when severe weather in the Northeast depressed hiring.

It's always possible, of course, that the number will be smaller than expected. A measure of private-sector employment compiled by Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and released earlier this week showed a decline of 23,000 net jobs for March, compared to Wall Street expectations of a 40,000-job gain.

Whatever number comes out, the report may highlight the fact that without help from the feds, employment conditions, as with much else in the economy, continue to look weak. Investors may decide that it's not such a good Friday after all.