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13 March 2017 Will the Labor Data Push the Fed to Hike Again in June?

By Ian Shepherdson

With rates now certain to rise this week, the real importance of the employment picture is what it says about the timing of the next hike. To be clear, we think the Fed will raise rates again in June, and will at that meeting add another dot to the plot, making four hikes this year.

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10 March 2017 February Payrolls Look set for Strength, Seasonals Permitting

By Ian Shepherdson

We're expecting a hefty increase in February payrolls today, but even a surprise weak number likely wouldn't prevent a rate hike next week. The trends in all the private sector employment surveys are strong and improving, and jobless claims have dropped to new lows too, though we think that's probably less important than it appears.

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9 March 2017 ADP Report Raises the Chance of a Blockbuster February Jobs Number

By Ian Shepherdson

We expected a consensus-beating ADP employment number for February, but the 298K leap was much better than our forecast, 210K. The error now becomes an input into our payroll model, shifting our estimate for tomorrow's official number to 250K; our initial forecast was 210K.

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8 March 2017 Could a Bad Payroll Report for February Really Stop the Fed?

By Ian Shepherdson

With the FOMC decision now just seven days away, the forcefulness of recent Fed speakers has led many analysts to argue that only a spectacularly bad payroll report, or an external shock, can prevent a rate hike next week. External shocks are unpredictable, by definition, and we think the chance of a startlingly terrible employment report is low, though substantial sampling error does occasionally throw the numbers off-track.

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7 March 2017 Why has Spending not Faltered After Tax Refunds were Delayed?

By Ian Shepherdson

The delay in the processing of personal income tax refunds this year appears not to have had any adverse impact on retail sales, so far. Indeed, the Redbook chainstore sales survey suggests that sales have accelerated over the past few weeks.

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6 March 2017 Yellen Effectively Promises a March Hike, with Good Reason

By Ian Shepherdson

Fed Chair Yellen's speech Friday was remarkably blunt: "Indeed, at our meeting later this month, the Committee will evaluate whether employment and inflation are continuing to evolve in line with our expectations, in which case a further adjustment of the federal funds rate would likely be appropriate."

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3 March 2017 Yellen and Fischer Won't Push Back Against a March Rate Hike Today

By Ian Shepherdson

Speeches by Chair Yellen and Vice-Chair Fischer give the two most important Fed officials the perfect platform today to signal to markets whether rates will rise this month.

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2 March 2017 How Will the Fed Decide Whether to Hike in March, or Wait?

By Ian Shepherdson

The odds of a hike this month have increased in recent days, though the chance probably is not as high as the 82% implied by the fed funds future. The arguments against a March hike are that GDP growth seems likely to be very sluggish in Q1, following a sub-2% Q4, and that a hike this month would be seen as a political act.

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1 March 2017 The Soaring Trade Deficit is set to Constrain First Quarter Growth

By Ian Shepherdson

Yesterday's wall of data told us a bit about where the economy likely is going, and a bit about how it started the first quarter. The January trade and inventory data were disappointing, but the February Chicago PMI and consumer confidence reports were positive.

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28 February 2017 What Will the President say About Taxes and Spending?

By Ian Shepherdson

It seems pretty clear from press reports that the White House budget, which reportedly will be released March 14, will propose substantial increases in defense spending, deep cuts to discretionary non- defense spending, and no substantive changes to entitlement programs. None of this will come as a surprise.

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