Blowout Employment Data Signals Strength in US Economy
In a surprising turn of events, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released employment data on Friday morning that far exceeded economist forecasts. According to the report, the US economy added a staggering 336,000 jobs in September, surpassing expectations of just 170,000. In addition, August’s initially reported figure of 187,000 jobs gained was revised higher to 227,000.
While the employment data was certainly positive, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8%, disappointing those who had anticipated a decline to 3.7%. However, this steady rate is still an impressive achievement and indicates the strength of the US labor market.
The release of the employment report has taken on greater significance this month due to the recent turmoil in the bond market. Over the past five weeks, government bond prices have experienced a significant downturn, leading to a rise in the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. The yield has reached as high as 4.80% this week, causing a decline in the stock market. The Nasdaq has fallen by approximately 6% since September 1, while the S&P 500 has experienced a similar decline.
In contrast to the stock and bond markets, bitcoin has managed to hold its ground amidst the turmoil. Over the same time frame, the price of bitcoin has risen from $26,000 to $27,700, indicating the resilience of the cryptocurrency.
Following the release of the employment report, stock and bond prices continued to decline. The Nasdaq 100 futures fell by more than 1%, and the 10-year Treasury yield increased by eight basis points, approaching 4.80%. This decline in the markets has led to an adjusted probability of a US Federal Reserve rate hike at its next policy meeting in November. The CME FedWatch tool now indicates a 31% chance of a rate hike, up from the previous 24%.
Despite the positive employment data, average hourly earnings were slightly softer than expected. In September, wages rose by 0.2%, falling short of forecasts for a 0.3% increase. On a year-over-year basis, average hourly earnings were up by 4.2%, slightly lower than the expected 4.3% and the previous month’s 4.3%.
Overall, the blowout employment data for the US economy in September paints a picture of robustness and resilience. While other markets have experienced turmoil in recent weeks, the strong labor market has shown its ability to weather the storm. The positive figures in job growth and steady unemployment rate provide reassurance in the face of current economic uncertainties.