Strong US Labor Market Amid Resilient Demand May Mean Aggressive Rate Hike

The most recent US jobs report ahead of the Federal Reserve’s September policy meeting indicated that employers continued to add jobs at a healthy, but more moderate, pace in August. 

This underscored the durability and strength of the country’s labor market and the need for an aggressive policy response to rein in inflation, economists have said. 

The jobs report being released Friday is projected to show a 300,000 payroll increase in August. The unemployment rate is seen at holding at 3.5 percent, which matches a five-decade low. The average hourly earnings are anticipated to show another solid gain. 

Fed chairman Jerome Powell signaled last week that the US central bank will most likely continue to raise interest rates, and keep them elevated for a while in an effort to stamp out inflation. 

Powell noted that this will probably lead to a softening in labor market conditions, but also bring some pain to households and businesses. 

Ahead of the jobs report, there will be a slew of other indicators that will offer more insight into the state of the labor market. 

The U.S. government will release data on vaccinations in July, as well as departures, on Tuesday. 

Job openings are expected by economists to remain elevated in the month, which will show resilient demand for labor warranting strong policy response to keep inflation in check. 

The ADP Research Institute will release its revamped monthly report the following day, including data on both employment and wages. 

The pace of hiring is expected to slow in August, but given the expectation of a stagnant labor-force participation rate, it will take very few added jobs for the unemployment rate to go down, economists say. 

The report might be what seals the deal for the Fed to decide on another 75-basis point hike in September. 

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