Friday’s Jobs Report Expectations | ORBITAL AFFAIRS

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The State of the Job Market: What to Expect from the Latest Employment Report

Key Takeaways:

  • Forecasters anticipate an employment report on Friday to reveal the addition of 190,000 jobs to the economy in May, signaling a healthy number by historic standards but a slowdown from the post-pandemic job boom.
  • The unemployment rate is expected to remain at 3.9%, close to 50-year lows, indicating that while the job market is decelerating, companies are avoiding mass layoffs.
  • A resilient job market in line with expectations could lead Federal Reserve officials to maintain the Fed’s benchmark interest rate higher for a longer period to combat inflation.

The hot job market experienced a significant cooling off in April, and experts predict that hiring continued at a slower pace in May. Employers are likely to have added 190,000 jobs in May, a figure close to the 175,000 jobs added in April. The report scheduled for release on Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is based on forecasts by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. The median forecast suggests that the unemployment rate will remain at 3.9%, near historic lows.

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If the projections hold true, the report will provide further evidence that the labor market is settling into a slower rhythm, albeit not crashing, as the Federal Reserve’s efforts to combat inflation through interest rate hikes impact business and consumer spending. The anticipated number of jobs added in May falls significantly below the average of 394,000 jobs per month that the economy has been adding since 2021.

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Recent data on hiring, layoffs, and resignations indicate that while layoffs are scarce, there is a decrease in employees quitting their jobs. This trend suggests that job-hopping for higher wages is becoming more challenging compared to the earlier post-pandemic labor market when workers were in high demand.

Federal Reserve’s Perspective on Slower Job Growth

Since last July, Federal Reserve officials have aimed to maintain the fed funds rate at a 23-year high to exert upward pressure on interest rates across various loans. This strategy is intended to discourage borrowing and spending, thereby helping to curb the annual inflation rate to the Fed’s target of 2%.

A cooler labor market with slower wage growth aligns with this objective and would be less disruptive for workers compared to a recession and mass layoffs, which have historically followed aggressive rate-hike campaigns by the Fed. A stable labor market without signs of a layoff wave could prompt Fed officials to prolong higher rates to combat inflation, as there would be little incentive to lower rates to stimulate the economy and prevent job losses.

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“If our forecasts are close to the mark, it would continue to indicate a resilient labor market that supports a cautious approach towards rate reductions,” stated Brett Ryan and other economists at Deutsche Bank.

For more information, you can read the original article on Investopedia here.

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