The employment report for December was a nasty surprise. The consensus expectation had been for a gain of 50k jobs, but we had expected there would be a loss in jobs, maybe as much as -50k. Instead it was substantially worse at -140k.
The October 2020 employment report was very strong all around. The economy gained 638,000 jobs vs expectations of 530,000, while the unemployment rate plummeted from 7.9% to 6.9%, much better than expectations of 7.6%.
Economic Analysis: US Q3 GDP Report & Looking Ahead
Q3 revealed strong domestic demand, but the rebound is short-lived as Q4 macroeconomic conditions are much less favorable for growth. With the absence of any new fiscal stimulus before year-end, the progress of the US job market stalled, and political uncertainties underway, the recovery should be much slower in Q4 2020.
The U.S. elections will spark a period of high uncertainty and market volatility until the end of the year. Choosing between the two candidates will mainly mean choosing be-tween a bigger or smaller federal government.
At its Wednesday meeting, the Fed suggested that it is likely to hold interest rates near 0% through 2023. It was the first meeting since Powell’s Jackson Hole speech when he announced the policy shift to “inflation targeting” which effectively focuses on pushing inflation up.
The Federal Reserve Shifts To “Inflation Targeting
In a pivotal but widely expected speech on 27 August at the Federal Reserve’s annual Jackson Hole retreat, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell announced a significant shift in monetary policy to “average inflation targeting."
The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged at 0% - 0.25% and left all its other existing lending programs unchanged as well, clearly indicating that the economy will be in need of all the monetary support possible for the foreseeable future.
Ask an Economist: What Economic Worries Keep You Up at Night?
COVID-19 sent tremors throughout the world, and the devastating economic effects are palpable. As we continue to find our way through the uncertainty, questions about the current state of the economy and future recovery continue to linger.
Recently we have seen a lot of data indicating that the US economy, after a few desperate months of decline, has now stopped this horrible free-fall. After plummeting at record rates in March and April during the shutdowns, we are now starting to see data which is showing record, spectacular rebounds.
The US and Canadian economies are running much hotter than we could have imagined a few months ago - stunning job gains compared to expectations of huge losses. It would appear that both economies have hit bottom and are on the rebound.