Jobs Report Raises Doubts About Growth Outlook
by Sheraz MianJune 01, 2012 | Comments : 6 Recommended this article: (0)
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We have a deluge of economic data this morning, both in the U.S. as well as abroad, but the disappointing May jobs report trumps everything. I am not give you any numbers. Trust me, they are terrible.
This is becoming a trend now, with three back to back monthly jobs reports missing expectations. It appears that the brief spurt of labor market momentum during the winter months is now firmly behind us and the labor market is losing steam. The question at this stage is whether these jobs numbers are bad enough to prompt a fresh response from the Fed.
But irrespective of whether they are bad enough for the Fed or not, they are certainly not good enough to give us a sustainable improvement in household buying power. And if we can’t sustain even moderate consumer spending growth, which is what today’s jobs numbers would imply, then we may have to revise our economic growth outlook.
Jobs no doubt remain the day’s top item, but questions about global growth will not be far from investors’ minds either. We will get the May manufacturing ISM survey results a little, with expectations of a modest pullback from the April level. But the same data for China and Europe this morning doesn’t inspire much confidence. The official Chinese PMI data for May came in weaker than expected and remains barely in expansionary territory. The rest of the emerging world is not looking much better either, with the Indian economy expanding at its slowest pace in three years in the first quarter and the outlook for Indonesia and South Korea not that good either.
The U.S. economy is not as trade dependent as many of these other economies and can sustain moderate growth on its own. But this decelerating growth outlook for the emerging markets is nevertheless a headwind for the corporate sector. Don’t forget that more than a third of the revenue of the S&P 500 companies come from abroad, with emerging markets accounting for a fast-growing slice.
I don’t know if today’s jobs report improves the odds of further Fed QE or not. But it is certainly making me question my growth assumptions for the U.S. economy. Jobs growth around this level does not mean moderate growth in the 1.5% to 2.5% range; it means a growth pace of under 1%, if at all.Don't you agree with that?
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