Rover's Weekly Market Brief - 05/06/2022


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The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS reported a record 11.5 million job openings as of the last day of March, 205,000 more than from February. The number of job openings has topped 10M for eight consecutive months. Before February 2020 the highest reading was 7.7M. Openings continue to outpace hires with employers hiring 6.7M people in March. The hires rate was little changed at 4.5%. The ratio of available workers to job openings also held steady at 0.6. Industries contributing to the increase include retail trade (+155,000) and durable goods manufacturing (+50,000). Offsetting the increase were decreases in openings for transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-69,000), state and local government education (-43,000), and federal government (-20,000). A record 4.5M people voluntarily left their jobs in March, an increase of 152,000 from the previous month. This marks the tenth consecutive month that more than 4M people quit or changed their jobs. The number of people who quit their jobs for other opportunities made up 3.0% of the workforce in March, up slightly from February’s 2.9%. Quitting rose the most in professional and business services (+88,000), construction (+69,000), and leisure and hospitality (+23,000). There have been 77.7M hires and 71.4M separations over the past 12 months, resulting in a net employment gain of 6.3M.

The Federal Reserve announced the raising of its benchmark federal funds rate by 50 basis points, putting it in the range of between 0.75% and 1.00%. The increase represents the biggest hike since the dot-com era in May 2000.  The FOMC statement indicated “ household spending and business fixed investment remained strong” and “inflation remains elevated”.  The Fed also announced that it will start reducing its $9 trillion balance sheet, which is weighted with treasury and mortgage-backed securities. The balance sheet reduction will be phased, starting June 1st $30 billion of Treasurys and $17.5 billion of mortgage-backed securities will be allowed to mature and the proceeds not reinvested. After three months, the monthly roll-off amounts will increase to $60 billion of Treasurys and $35 billion of mortgage-backed securities. The Fed’s holdings of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities have doubled since 2020 to $5.8 trillion and $2.7 trillion respectively.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 428,000 jobs were added in April, as the unemployment rate stayed at 3.6% with 5.9M unemployed. February 2020’s pre-pandemic reading was 3.5% with 5.7M unemployed. Payrolls were revised down for both February (-36,000) and March (-3,000). The April increase in payrolls was broad with the biggest gains concentrated in leisure and hospitality (+78K), manufacturing (+55K), and transportation and warehousing (+52K). Employment in both professional and business services and retail trade are tracking above pre-pandemic levels, while leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing are still below pre-pandemic levels. Average hourly earnings increased 0.3% in April and follows a 0.4% reading in March. At $31.85 average hourly earnings are up 5.5% from a year ago, as compared to an inflation rate of 8.2%. The labor force participation rate or the proportion of working-age Americans who have a job or are looking for one edged down to 62.2% from 62.4% in April, the reading puts it at more than a full percentage point below pre-pandemic levels. Currently, there are 5.9M unemployed and 11.5M job openings.

Wednesday May 11 – Core CPI (MoM) (April)

Thursday May 12 – PPI (MoM) (April)

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