Of Rates and Recessions (First of a Series)

One of many challenges of the investing climate is reading the economic signs. Is inflation coming down or going up? Is the labor market strengthening or weakening? Are we in a recession or just slow growth?

Last Friday’s job report was a case in point. Job openings dropped dramatically by 1.1 million, the lowest level since February 2021. This “bad” news was greeted hopefully by markets last week as a sign the Fed’s rate increases were having their desired effect and slowing the economy and, with any luck, inflation. (See our Chart of the Week).

But this was offset by “good” news that the unemployment rate fell to 3.5% from 3.7%. August data showed hiring rose to 6.3 million jobs, according to Berenberg economist, Mickey Levy. And the hire rate of 4.1% remains steady and above pre-Covid levels. This and other signs of a strong economy have lopped 10% off equity indices in the last month.