02 February 2024

Hoo Boy

Rather unexpectedly, the non-farm payroll rose by 353,000 in January, while unemployment remained at 3.7%.

The Federal Reserve is going to completely lose their sh%$ over this.  I would not expect a rate cut before July now.  (Across the pond, the BoE held rates steady and gave guidance suggesting rate cuts soon.)

Good news on the job front, and make no mistake, this is good news, will lead the Fed to be far more hawkish on interest rates:

Hiring is booming, defying expectations the economy would cool after going gangbusters last year.

Employers added 353,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported Friday. That was the strongest in a year and nearly double what economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected.

Bond yields surged after the report was released, a sign that investors believed that the Federal Reserve might now take longer to cut interest rates. The S&P 500 climbed 1.1% to close at a new record, indicating that—after months of falling inflation—investors have become more confident that a strong labor market is sustainable rather than a problem that could cause prices to jump again.

December’s payroll gains were also revised upward to 333,000 from 216,000, further undercutting the widely held view among economists and investors that it was becoming harder to find a job.

The unemployment rate in January held steady at 3.7% instead of rising to 3.8% as economists had forecast. Wages outpaced expectations, jumping 4.5% last month from a year earlier, though the large increase may have reflected a big drop in hours worked—a possible result of bad winter weather, some analysts said.


Before Friday, recent data had shown the labor market cooling in a gradual manner, with wage growth easing and the pace of hiring moderating. Economists surveyed by the Journal last month expected payrolls to grow a paltry 64,000 a month this year, after averaging 255,000 a month last year.

The bulk of hiring last year came from just three sectors: government, healthcare and restaurants and hotels. In January, however, job gains broadened, with nearly two-thirds of private-sector industries adding to their payroll or keeping them steady.

I still think that a lot of this is being driven by the fact that the economy, and the workforce, have changed profoundly, and that the adjustments that are being made need to be ……… Well ……… Adjusted.

I have no clue what is going on here.



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