- There were 10.8 million job openings, a moderate decrease from 11.2 million on the last day of December, the Labor Department reported in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, known as JOLTS.
- The total number of open jobs per available unemployed worker, a figure that the Federal Reserve has been watching closely as it tries to cool the job market and ease inflation, was relatively unchanged at 1.9.
- Jobs report came in hotter than expected for February, though cooled from the jumbo number (+504K) in January.
- Gain of 311k vs 225K consensus, +86k new jobs.
- The unemployment rate edged higher moving from 3.4% to 3.6%.
- Wage growth remains hot, though it is showing signs of easing.
- Hourly earnings showed a 4.6% pay increase year over year, down from a 40-year high of 5.9% one year ago.
- Over the weekend, the Treasury, FDIC and Federal Reserve put out a joint statement announcing two key policy measures intended to stabilize the banking system following the failures of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank (SBNY).2
- The first is that the FDIC will make all depositors whole in both SVB and SBNY, including uninsured depositors.
- Second, the Bank Term Funding Program (BTFP), which effectively allows banks to borrow from the Federal Reserve against a broad range of collateral.
How does the jobs report impact you?
- While the January JOLTS report shows job openings are heading in the right direction for the Fed, the decline is far too modest to convince that labor market conditions are cooling enough to bring down inflation.
- It is important to note that Layoffs, which have been extraordinarily low outside of some high-profile companies mostly in the tech sector, rose by 241,000, to 1.7 million. That is the highest number since December 2020.3
- This may be a sign of what the Fed is currently expecting. The Fed is currently expecting to see about 2 million put out of a job this year in order to tamp down inflation.
- This week’s upcoming economic indicators will have investors focusing in on inflation and consumer confidence
- On Tuesday we will receive CPI data. The headline reading is expected to decrease on a year over year basis from 6.4% to 6.0%.
- On Wednesday we will receive Producer Price Index (PPI) data. The headline reading is expected to decrease on a year over year basis from 6.0% to 5.4%.
- On Friday we will receive the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. The index reading is expected to remain flat from the month prior at 67.0
How do inflation and consumer confidence impact you?
- While headline inflation has been moving lower since its peak in June 2022, we have seen data more recently point to mixed outcomes, with better labor market and consumer data offset by softer manufacturing trends. In particular, services inflation – driven by a strong labor market and higher wage gains, continues to exceed expectations and keep inflation elevated. In fact, we just saw that unit labor cost data for the fourth quarter came in at 3.2% annualized, well above expectations for a 1.6% growth rate, further evidence that wage gains have yet to meaningfully ease. Ultimately, with the labor market data continuing to come in hotter than expected, the stakes are high for inflation readings. Fed chair Jerome Powell said last week the central bank could return to a larger size interest rate increase at its policy meeting later this month if other data pointed to re-heating economic activity.
|Market Index Returns as of 3/10/23||WTD||QTD||YTD||1 YR||3 YR||5 YR|
|S&P 500 TR USD||-4.51%||0.92%||0.92%||-7.79%||13.94%||8.67%|
|NASDAQ Composite TR USD||-4.68%||6.63%||6.63%||-14.40%||12.83%||9.07%|
|DJ Industrial Average TR USD||-4.35%||-3.24%||-3.24%||-1.05%||12.97%||7.03%|
|Russell Mid Cap TR USD||-6.86%||0.52%||0.52%||-5.58%||13.82%||6.54%|
|Russell 2000 TR USD||-8.03%||0.89%||0.89%||-9.13%||13.35%||3.46%|
|MSCI EAFE NR USD||-0.76%||5.96%||5.96%||3.22%||9.86%||2.75%|
|MSCI EM NR USD||-3.29%||0.03%||0.03%||-9.50%||2.71%||-2.24%|
|Bloomberg US Agg Bond TR USD||1.17%||1.45%||1.45%||-7.35%||-3.47%||0.76%|
|Bloomberg US Corporate High Yield TR USD||-0.90%||1.87%||1.87%||-4.21%||2.75%||2.77%|
|Bloomberg Global Aggregate TR USD||1.31%||-0.35%||-0.35%||-13.56%||-5.19%||-1.57%|
- Both U.S. stocks and global stocks sold off last week as fears over economic and market contagion due to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) took center stage.
- As a result, small caps underperformed their large cap peers with the Russell 2000 Index down -8.03% for the week compared to the Russell Mid Cap Index down -6.86% and the S&P 500 Index down -4.51%
- On the other hand, bonds had a very positive week as yields contracted significantly (the 10-year yield fell from 3.9% to 3.4% within two days).
- As a result, the Bloomberg US AGG Bond index returned 1.17%, significantly outperforming equity indexes.
BY THE NUMBERS
- U.S. Takes Steps to Stem Bank Fallout: U.S. regulators took control of a second bank Sunday and announced emergency measures to ease fears depositors might pull their money from smaller lenders after the swift collapse late last week of Silicon Valley Bank. The measures, which include guaranteeing all deposits of SVB, were designed to shore up wavering confidence in the banking system. They were jointly announced Sunday night by the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Regulators announced they had taken control of Signature Bank, one of the main banks for cryptocurrency companies, on Sunday. The New York bank’s depositors will be made whole, officials said. A senior Treasury official said the steps didn’t constitute a bailout because stock and bondholders in SVB and Signature wouldn’t be protected.5
- International Travel: According to the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office, 62.8 million international visitors will come to the U.S. in 2023, up 21.2 percent from the 51.8 million who visited in 2022. That’s still south of the 79.4 million who visited in 2019, but the office can project that 79.9 million people will visit in 2024, finally beating that pre-pandemic record. The office expects growth to continue, with the Commerce Department goal of 90 million international visitors by 2027 seen as very reachable. Excluding Mexico and Canada, the office expects 29.2 million overseas visitors in 2023, down from 40.4 million in 2019, with the projection that will hit 40.3 million by 2027.6
- Daycare at work: The country is about 58,000 daycare workers, or around 6%, short of February 2020 levels, an analysis of federal data by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley shows. Among women who dropped out of the workforce in the Covid-19 era, one-third said the lack or expense of child care was a top reason, while 20% of men who left said so, according to a 2022 survey by McKinsey & Co. Overall, company-provided child care is rare: Fewer than 6% of employers offer it at or near their workplaces, according to a 2022 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.7
Reprinted with permission from BTN. Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.