Strong Job Growth Could Send These Stocks Soaring
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the economy added 211,000 jobs for the month. That's good growth right on the heels of October's job report, which, at 298,000 jobs for the month, was the strongest job creation this year, shattering estimates for around 180,000.
This is just one report. Still, when taken with other indicators such as job postings and unemployment claims, the big picture suggests a labor market that is firmly on the mend. The unemployment rate has fallen to 5.0%, the lowest level since April 2008. I should note that this figure doesn't reflect the number of people on the sidelines that have stopped trying to look for work. The labor force participation rate of 62.4% is still the lowest in 38 years.
But after a summer lull, recent strong job growth is an encouraging sign. Even better, average hourly wages have also ticked up by $0.09 (or 2.5%) to $25.50 per hour. It's been a long time since we've seen any upward pressure on wages.
The main upshot of this is the U.S. Federal Reserve now has a stronger argument in favor of lifting interest rates at the December meeting. Based on testimony from Chair Janet Yellen, I would say it's all but a done deal. You can bet we'll be discussing the ramifications of a rate "liftoff" in the weeks and months to come.
But for now, I want to take a different angle.
The economy needs to add 100,000 jobs per month just to keep pace with population growth. And it's running at double that. It's safe to say that the labor market has some steam. And that's why I'm taking a closer look at stocks that are sensitive to employment trends.
There's no easy way to screen for this type of correlation. But certain groups (like staffing companies and payroll processors) are natural beneficiaries of this hiring surge. And there are others that benefit indirectly, like payment processor Heartland (NYSE: HPY ) -- which handles 11 million credit and debit card transactions a day.
More paychecks equal more spending, more spending equals more transactions, and more transactions equal more fee-based income.
The chart below includes several companies that are in line for stronger earnings if this trend continues as expected.
Action to Take: I'm a big fan of several companies on this list, and not just because the jobs pendulum is swinging their way. Automatic Data Processing (NYSE: ADP ) , for example, handles payroll and other administrative services for 440,000 small businesses as well as 80% of the Fortune 500. The company sends paychecks to 24 million employees each month, or one-sixth of the nation's entire workforce.
ADP generates over $10 billion in steady, recurring annual revenues. And with low capital requirements, the company is in a position to return 60% of its cash earnings to stockholders. In fact, it has now raised dividend distributions for 41 years in a row.
It stands to reason that most of ADP's clients are hiring right now. That means more paychecks to process next year, and thus more fee-based income.
I also like Global Payments (NYSE: GPN ) , which provides credit and debit card processing services on behalf of more than 1.5 million retailers, hotels and other customers worldwide. The company helps coordinate the electronic movement of funds between banks.
Every time a card is swiped, GPN gets paid a small piece of the sale -- and it processes approximately 135 million transactions each week.
Odds are, you'll probably pay for more of your holiday purchases this year with plastic than cash. So will many of the 600,000 people that have been hired over the past 90 days. As I mentioned last month, ecommerce holiday spending is expected to jump 12% this year to $95 billion -- and GPN will handle more than its share.
P.S. Did you know a small handful of companies hide a portion of their dividends? In fact, according to a SeekingAlpha writer, one company " has been hiding its secret dividend from the average investor for over a decade now. " Click here for the full story ...
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.
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