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Bad US Jobs data

Image source: r/reactiongifs - Giphy

What's going on?

Data out on Friday showed the US economy added far fewer jobs than expected in December. F!ddlesticks.

What does this mean?

The data showed the number of new jobs came in 10% below forecasts, while also revising October and November’s job gains down. Job growth was particularly weak in the manufacturing and mining sectors, where trade uncertainty has continued to bite – though that was offset in part by the retail sector, as employers increased hiring over the crucial holiday season.

There was some good news: December capped off ten straight years of job additions – the longest stretch in history – and saw the unemployment rate stay at a 50-year low. And since the survey takes into account neither the trade war truce nor the completion of a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, December’s misfortune may not last for long.

Why should I care?

The bigger picture: Wage war.
Wages missed investors’ expectations too, growing at their slowest rate since July 2018. That might reassure the Federal Reserve (the Fed) that the strong labor market isn’t putting too much pressure on inflation (the rate at which the prices of goods and services increase). That, in turn, could fuel investors’ hopes that the Fed isn’t in a rush to lift interest rates this year: higher interest rates might cool down inflation, but it could do the same to the stock market rally too.

For markets: Shock therapy. 
The strong economy and trade war truce have encouraged hedge funds to significantly increase their bets that the stock market rally will keep going. But the pressing question now is whether those bets have gone too far, possibly putting the market at risk of an exodus of money if investors get rattled. And as rising geopolitical tensions at the start of the year showed, an investor-rattling shock can come from anywhere…

Originally posted as part of the Finimize daily email.

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