First Jobs Report Under President Trump Sets Stage For Rate Hike
The first monthly jobs report under President Donald Trump is officially in, and it’s a good one. On Friday morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in February, and the U.S. unemployment rate declined to 4.7 percent.
The jobs number came in well ahead of consensus economist estimates of 190,000.
While Trump will certainly take credit for the economy’s positive momentum, Allianz chief economic advisor Mohamed El-Erian told Benzinga Trump’s actual impact on the economy is a bit unclear.
All Credit To Trump? Not So Fast
“While it’s still too early to assess with confidence the extent to which hard economic data capture the Trump effect, sentiment indicators speak to the potential for additional job and wage growth,” El-Erian said.
More importantly, he believes the latest jobs report clears the path for “a definite Fed hike” this month.
What These Figures Definitely Do
Indeed economist Tara Sinclair points out that, despite the positive headline numbers, the new report still indicates areas of economic weakness. In particular, she sees labor participation and employment-to-population ratio as two metrics that need improvement. In addition, retail trade was a big loser in February.
“Even with the caveats, at this point the Fed is focused on the aggregate numbers, which they see as strong enough to start normalizing interest rates, which are still very low within historical context,” Sinclair explained.
“A hot economy could give workers more bargaining power which might push up their wages, but the Fed is watching carefully to make sure that companies don’t just pass those higher costs on in terms of higher inflation.”
Investors are certainly cheering the jobs report on Friday, sending the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) up 0.4 percent.
Image Credit: By Official U.S. Navy Page from United States of AmericaMC2 Tyler Preston/U.S. Navy - President speaks with Sailors in the hangar bay., Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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