Market Overview

Good Friday Not So Great, Thanks To Data

Good Friday Not So Great, Thanks To Data

The stint of impressive hiring figures in the U.S. came to an end last week when the closely watched nonfarm payrolls' figures for March revealed the nation's weakest figure in 15 months.

The Labor Department report showed that employers added just 126,000 new jobs in March, while the unemployment rate remained at 5.5 percent.

The figure hasn't had time to sink in just yet, as markets were closed Friday for the Easter holiday, but traders are already beginning to wonder how this revelation will impact the Federal Reserve's plans to raise interest rates this year.

Where Did The Weakness Come From?

The figure shows that the U.S. recovery may not be as strong as previously believed. Recent reports have also revealed a decline in consumer spending and manufacturing output, proving that the jobs data isn't just a one off.

Related Link: Jacqueline D. Reses Joins Federal Reserve Bank Of San Francisco's Economic Advisory Council

Some have attributed the poor data to the strengthening dollar, which has made U.S. exports less competitive in the global marketplace, while others say the figures can be explained by extreme cold.

Rate Hike Expectations Pushed Back

While poor data is a bad sign for the U.S. economy, it could be a positive for investors who are hoping that the Fed will keep rates low just a little bit longer.

Speculation about when the bank is planning to raise its interest rate has been all over the place as of late, but most analysts agree that in light of the jobs data, the bank isn't likely to make a move until July at the earliest.

Market Uncertainty To Continue

Many believe that the U.S. recovery is strong enough to weather a few months of poor data, especially when much of the downward pressure is coming from weakness in foreign economies. However, the Fed isn't likely to tighten its policies in the face of uncertainty.

Instead, most expect the bank to wait until inflation rises and the data improves. Still, markets will be on edge in the months to come, closely watching each of the U.S. economic indicators and waiting for any signal from the Fed that a rate hike is on the horizon.

Image Credit: Public Domain

Posted-In: labor department Nonfarm PayrollsNews Econ #s Top Stories Federal Reserve Markets Best of Benzinga


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