The Great Unwind (Third of a Series)

Our characterization of the current economic picture as a “precession” took into account the second quarter’s negative GDP data. But last week’s “blowout” labor report for July – 528,000 jobs added – combined with unemployment edging down to 3.5%, hardly depict the prelude to a recession. The number of jobs now stands where it did before the pandemic.

Of course this good news carries with it the bad news of higher inflation. A hot job market means higher wages which will add to the witches’ brew of upward price pressures the Fed will consider before September’s meeting. So far there’s nothing to suggest that another 75 bps isn’t likely, but plenty of data between now and then will be available to cinch it.

We asked a good friend with an informed economic view where he stood on the chance of a recession. “It looks unlikely anytime soon,” he told us. “But right now markets are paying more attention to the Treasury rebound and corporate earnings.