It took less than two days last week for the financial markets to disabuse themselves of the notion that the Federal Reserve, this time, is really, truly, absolutely kind of serious about raising interest rates at its next meeting in September.
On Wednesday afternoon the Fed, as expected, left interest rates unchanged for the fifth straight monetary policy meeting since first raising rates last December, which was supposed to usher in a gradual process of rate “normalization” this year. As we know, of course, the Fed hasn’t followed through on that, finding one justification after another – rising oil prices, falling oil prices, weak Chinese economic growth, weak U.S. economic growth, Brexit, you name it – to delay the day of reckoning.
In last week’s post-meeting announcement, the Fed dropped several hints that might cause some people, even reasonable ones, to conclude that a rate increase might be in the offing at its next meeting in September. Continue reading "Will We See The Fed In September?"→
Was May's better-than-expected jobs report strong enough to convince the Federal Reserve to start interest rate liftoff in September?
Based on the market's reaction on Friday, the answer sure looks like yes. Yields on long-term U.S. Treasury bonds spiked to their highest levels since last October, and stocks were mostly lower.
But let's not carried away with one number and one report. Certainly the data-paralyzed Fed won't. If we get three solid months of positive economic statistics, then I’ll think there's a chance – albeit a slim one – the Fed will make a move in September. Until then, we'll have to wait and see.
Notice I've already written off next week's Fed meeting as the first interest rate increase. While the minutes of the Fed's April 28-29 monetary policy meeting "did not rule out" the possibility of raising rates at the June meeting, it was "unlikely" that economic data would justify doing so by then. Nothing's happened in the meantime to change that. Continue reading "Jobs Report Not Enough to Signal September Liftoff"→
Now it gets interesting because early in the bailout process the Fed talked about achieving certain employment milestones before hiking interest rates. Here we are at the 10th consecutive month with 200,000+ job gains (321,000 in November) and the jobless rate down to 5.8% and still there is a question on when or whether ZIRP will be withdrawn?
Well I am a visual learner so I for one can never get enough pictures to inform my thinking. Pardon the redundancy in this chart’s frequent appearances in NFTRH…
The rectangular red box is zero interest rate policy (ZIRP), which is 6 years old this month. If we play it straight we would be expected to believe what the mainstream believes, that the “Great Recession” is a thing of the past and that something built of abnormal policy can proceed per normal metrics and assumptions when abnormal policy is removed. I don’t buy it. Continue reading "Economy Post-'Jobs’ Report; Real or Memorex?"→
U.S. employers added just 88,000 jobs in March, the fewest in nine months and a sharp retreat after a period of strong hiring. The slowdown may signal that the economy is heading into a weak spring.
The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate dipped to 7.6 percent from 7.7 percent, the lowest in four years. But the rate fell last month only because more people stopped looking for work. People who are out of work are no longer counted as unemployed once they stop looking for a job.
U.S. employers added 171,000 jobs in October, and hiring was stronger in August and September than first thought. The solid job growth showed that the economy is strengthening slowly but consistently.
The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September, mainly because more people began looking for work. The government uses a separate survey to calculate the unemployment rate, and it counts people without jobs as unemployed only if they're looking for one.
Friday's report was the last major snapshot of the economy before Tuesday's elections. It's unclear what political effect the report might have. By now, all but a few voters have made up their minds, particularly about the economy, analysts say.
Since July, the economy has created an average of 173,000 jobs a month. That's up from 67,000 a month from April through June. Still, President Barack Obama will face voters with the highest unemployment rate of any incumbent since Franklin Roosevelt.