New Month, New Data

June 6, 2024

Welcome to June! With the advent of a new month comes another round of economic data. A few key data points were released this week which are discussed below. Let’s start our June lap around the data track!

Please note the main events for the month (May’s jobs data and Consumer Price Index) will be released in the coming week and will be the subject of next week’s post!

Job Openings

The Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (“JOLTS”) report was released this week. The report showed job openings of 8 million, well below the estimate of 8.3 million. This was a classic case of “bad news is good news” for markets. Markets reacted positively to this news, seemingly of the opinion that lower job openings is indicative of a slowing labor market. A slowdown in labor (and perhaps wages) would be good news for inflationary pressure and may result in monetary easing. While it remains to be seen how things will play out, it is important to note that job openings per worker has returned to pre-pandemic levels, indicating some normalization in the labor market.

Domestic Growth

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta publishes a running estimate of real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth throughout each quarter, based on the available data as the quarter progresses. Earlier this week, the GDPNow estimate showed the Q2 2024 estimate falling from 2.7% to 1.8%. Again, this is an estimate and it will be a while before we get confirmation of Q2 GDP. However, this again lent support to the argument that the economy may be cooling off (potential good news for inflation/easing monetary policy).

And then..on June 6th, that estimate was back up to 2.6%. Safe to say – there is a lot in play and it’s best to not react to any single data point!

Preliminary Jobs Data

While the main jobs report will be published Friday June 7th (likely around the time you read this), we did get some preliminary reports on the labor market this week. ADP released its National Employment Report mid-week. The consensus was for an increase of 172,500 private-sector jobs. The report was weaker than expected, with 152,000 jobs added in the month.

Weekly jobless claims were released on Thursday and came in higher than anticipated (229,000 versus 220,000).

Global Rate Cuts

Both the European Central Bank and Bank of Canada cut their policy interest rates this week. While both moves were well telegraphed, they still mark the beginning of easing monetary policies around the globe.

Manufacturing Reports

There were also a slew of reports concerning manufacturing activity and pricing (Global Manufacturing PMI, ISM Manufacturing PMI, and Durable Good Orders). All of these reports were tame (ie: did not show a spike in activity or pricing – further good news on inflation front but may raise concerns about growth slowing too quickly)

Our trip around the data track for June doesn’t seem like it will be an easy jog! We seem to find ourselves in a position where markets want to see economic strength (to avoid recession fears kicking back in) but also want that growth to be mild enough that the Fed will be comfortable cutting rates. On one hand, there is the risk that the slowdown is already here and the Fed’s higher-for-longer plan will have further negative impacts, perhaps pushing us into an unwanted recession. And on the other hand, there is a very real argument that growth remains very strong and inflation will remain elevated, despite the Fed leaving rates at elevated levels.

June is setting up to be an exciting month. Stay tuned!

Onward we go,

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