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It's pretty easy to spin a story that the recent core PCE numbers represent a sharp and alarming turn south.
We were happy to see the 255K gain in July payrolls, but we remain nervous about the sustainability of such strong numbers. The jump in employment was very large relative to some of the key survey-based indicators of the pace of hiring, even after allowing for the 29K favorable swing in the birth/ death model, compared to a year ago, and the 27K jump in state and local government education jobs, likely due to seasonal adjustment problems
Yesterday's labour market data significantly bolster the consensus view on the MPC that interest rates do not need to rise this year to counter the imminent burst of inflation. Granted, the headline, three-month average, unemployment rate fell to 4.7% in January--its lowest rate since August 1975--from 4.8% in December, defying the consensus forecast for no-change.
Neither the 33K drop in September payrolls nor the 0.5% jump in hourly earnings tells us anything about the underlying state of the labor market.
The BLS offered no estimate of the impact on payrolls of the snowstorm which hit the Northeast during the March survey week, but it appears to have been substantial. All the leading indicators pointed to a solid 200K-plus reading, more than double the official initial estimate, 98K.
The minutes of March's MPC meeting were more newsworthy than we--and the markets--expected. Kristin Forbes broke ranks and voted to raise Bank Rate to 0.50%, from 0.25%.
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