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Market Buzz | Fall 2019

Market Buzz

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Decline in new jobs dampens need for workers

Although the labor market is still on solid ground, falling job openings for a third consecutive month in August, down from a year earlier, softened demand for workers this summer, reported The Wall Street Journal in its Oct. 10 edition.

After posting annual drops in June and July, the number of openings fell 4 percent to 7.1 million in August from a year earlier, Labor Department data released Oct. 10 indicated. The last time openings logged three consecutive months of year-over-year drops was in 2009.

"There are signs that we are definitely seeing a pullback," said Nick Bunker, economist at hiring site Indeed. "Today’s numbers give credence to the argument that the labor market slowdown is driven by employer demand."

Additional Labor Department figures show that the average 160,000 jobs a month that employers have added in 2019 so far are down from 223,000 in 2018.

More broadly, job growth so far in 2019 falls short of the 190,000 a month average gains for the eight years since employment began rebounding from the last recession.

Feds wary over trade war, slowing global growth in last rate cut

Concerns that the U.S.–China trade war and slowing global growth could railroad domestic hiring and economic activity troubled Federal Reserve officials when they cut interest rates in September, The Wall Street Journal reported in its Oct. 10 edition.

Economic data suggest that manufacturing sector vulnerability might spread to other parts of the nation’s economy. But Fed officials left open whether they would cut interest rates in October, which would be a third reduction for the year.

Previous cuts this year lowered the central bank’s benchmark rate to between 1.75 percent and 2 percent. Spurring those cuts, Fed officials indicated, were inflation pressures, trade-policy uncertainty and weak global growth, according to the WSJ report.

"All three of those things remain, and in addition to that, we’ve received evidence the domestic economy is slowing faster than they had expected at the September meeting," Matthew Luzzetti, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank, told the WSJ.

The Fed cut interest rates by a quarter point in July and a quarter point at its September policy meeting.

Some Fed members wanted to give more of a head’s up as to whether another interest rate cut is imminent, according to minutes from the Sept. 17-18 policy meeting. Although they did not indicate so, an October rate cut seems a "done deal," Priya Misra, head of interest-rate strategy at TD Securities, told the WSJ.