American employers continued to add staff at a rapid pace in November. Payrolls climbed by 211,000 last month following a 298,000 gain in October that was larger than previously estimated. Employment in November was spurred by the biggest increase in construction hiring since January 2014. Retailers, health-care providers and leisure and hospitality companies added jobs at a healthy, but at a slower pace than in October.The jobless rate held at a more than seven-year low of 5%.
The figures underscore Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s view that slowdowns in emerging markets or Europe will not derail U.S. expansion, clearing the path for officials to raise the benchmark interest rate this month for the first time since 2006. The pace of future rate increases will be contingent on progress towards the central bank’s inflation goal and probably depends on how quickly wage pressures mount as the job market tightens. Indeed this is the market view.
However, few things are disturbing.
First of all, the labor force participation rate, the share of working-age people who are employed or looking for work, rose to 62.5% from 62.4%. Participation has declined this year and this cannot just explain by an older population in U.S. The divergence between the GDP growth and participation rate started in 2009, beginning of the consequences in the economy of the new monetary policy called Easy Quantitative program. Since 2010, we have a divergence between the participation rate and the unemployment rate both falling. These two anomalies should raise some questions about the real state of the employment market in the U.S.
Secondly, other indicators concern me. Service industries in the U.S. expanded in November at the slowest pace in six months, indicating malaise in manufacturing is impeding progress in other parts of the economy. The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index declined to 55.9 from October’s 59.1, the biggest monthly decrease in seven years. The setback in the industries that make up almost 90% of the economy coincides with the weakest reading in manufacturing since June 2009. The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing survey this month dropped to 48.6, the lowest since June 2009, from 50.1 in October. The divergence between both figures has been predicted all big market correction since 2000.
Finally, on the other hand, central bankers have missed their inflation target for more than three years. Their preferred measure of price pressures rose 0.2% in the 12 months through October. The Fed’s 2% target for inflation has not be met since April 2012.
Despite unemployment rate falling, wages growth is stable still mid-2010 and no real sign of domestic inflation has been showed. More than likely, no pressure from commodity prices would be seen in the coming eighteen months, spare capacity remains at very high level domestically and internationally, so clearly a risk of inflation are very poor. At the opposite, the risk of deflation is serious. In the case of external shock due to an uncertain world, – Ukrainian crisis, Greek crisis, Middle-East instability, Turkey-Russia tension, Sino-Japanese issues… -, we could even have a depression scenario.
So, in such environment, where basically Friday payrolls did not bring any news would you increase interest rate? Except the fact that Janet Yellen and some FED members mentioned it and the fact we are in December, where is the rush?