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Press release
01 Feb 2019

US jobs data: what a difference a year makes

Nick Wall, fixed income portfolio manager, Merian Global Investors

 

A year ago, an above-consensus earnings number sent volatility and stocks into a tailspin as the market braced itself for future US interest rate hikes. This January, the story couldn’t have been more different or more market-friendly – the US economy added 304k jobs, the participation rate rose to the highest level since 2013 as prime-age males returned to the labour force and, importantly given the recent Fed U-turn, wage growth was moderate.

Fed chair Jerome Powell will feel validated, while those fearing an imminent recession may be forced to think again. This should allow the risk-on sentiment seen in January to persist as the focus turns to US-China trade discussions.

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