All Posts Tagged: Federal Reserve

U.S. Outlook: Employment Data Show Rot Beneath the Surface

Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

The latest U.S. employment data may seem solid, but we see clear signs of rot and deterioration below the surface that suggest even slower job growth ahead.

The U.S. unemployment rate held at 3.7%, as we had forecast. However, that was somewhat higher than the consensus forecast of 3.6%. We think the U.S. unemployment rate has probably already bottomed for this cycle and could see a slow climb from here.

‘Like Termites in a House’ 

The escalating U.S.–China trade war and the global economic slowdown, like termites in a house, are fast at work doing real damage to the foundation of this economic expansion. President Donald Trump’s announcement that he is doubling down on his strategy of placing tariffs on China’s imports, with another 10% tariff on an additional $300 billion of Chinese goods on September 1, will do serious additional economic and financial damage.

The latest escalation and possible retaliation by China, on top of the $250 billion already tariffed at 25%, could nearly double the negative economic impact on the U.S. and Chinese economies. It already has shaken confidence in global financial markets and will soon shake business and consumer confidence as well.

Let’s review some facts. Nonfarm payroll growth year-on-year peaked most recently in January 2019 at 1.9%. Since then, nonfarm job growth has been gradually deteriorating to just 1.5% in July.  Even more telling, over the last three months, nonfarm payroll growth has averaged only 140k per month or 1.1% annualized.

Construction and Manufacturing Deterioration 

The culprit is the deterioration in the goods-producing sectors, construction and manufacturing, which are the U.S. economy’s two most cyclical sectors. Manufacturing job growth year-on-year last month was just 1.2%, down from 2.3% growth in July 2018. Construction job growth was a seemingly solid 2.8% year-on-year last month. However, that is down from 5.0% back in October of 2018.

This deterioration in construction and manufacturing payroll growth should put the Federal Reserve on high-alert that a more serious economic slowdown could be just around the corner. We believe the July rate cut is the first in a series of cuts that will be needed to forestall an outright economic recession.

For more, see my full U.S. Outlook, delivered on August 2nd.

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U.S. Outlook: A Fed rate cut is still needed

Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

Despite positive readings on some major U.S. economic indicators in June and July, red flags surrounding future growth continue to appear.

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Investment Insights: Lackluster trade fireworks

Wade Balliet
Posted by Wade Balliet
Investment Strategy

After all the excitement surrounding the trade meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping over the weekend, the outcome seems to have fallen flat for investors.

On Friday, ahead of the summit, the S&P 500 leapt higher before paring gains on Monday as investors realized no long-term solution had been reached. However, some positives did result from the conversation between the two heads of state.

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Investment Insights: Delaying the inevitable

Wade Balliet
Posted by Wade Balliet
Investment Strategy

The most recent rally in stocks seems to be stalling as tensions escalate between the U.S. and Iran, and as investors hold their collective breath in anticipation of President Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping this weekend.

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Investment Insights: Everything’s roses

Wade Balliet
Posted by Wade Balliet
Investment Strategy

Suddenly, everything is seeming pretty peachy. Financial markets appear to be stabilizing as investors digest news concerning the U.S.-China trade war and monetary policy across the globe.

Bond investors are still seeing some turbulence ahead as yields continue to bounce around their lows; the 10-year Treasury yield approached the 2% mark again yesterday.

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