The Fed's next move
Thanks to a subscriber for this report from UBS which may be of interest. Here is a section:
Aggregate hours worked in the private sector declined in February and declined again in March. Last week we walked through why we estimate the labor market has come back into alignment over the course of the last year. We also note that for all the talk of labor hoarding, filings of initial claims for unemployment insurance over the last four weeks have run higher than all of 2019 and most of 2018. Layoff announcements have been running above the post-GFC pace. Clearly some employers are laying off.
In our economic baseline, we assume the labor market carves out a peak this summer, and we pencilled in the July employment report as the time we expect the first negative payroll print. We'll see. However, our empirical models are moving that way. In the recent compendium (on page 17 at this link) , a leading indicator model developed by UBS's Pierre Lafourcade noted that a rising share were in contraction (defined as having passed a cyclical peak), and the same for a broader set of employment indicators that reflect labor market conditions.
"Historically, once roughly 50% of all series contract, payrolls go negative (which is intuitive), but it's the leading indicator bucket that tells you when that is likely to happen (it shoots up from 40% to 80% of series contracting in just a few months). The upshot is that while private non-farm employment is still growing, an increasing share of the underlying dynamics is turning sour," he wrote in the compendium in late March.
The big question for all investors is the rationale for raising rates. The answer to that question will inform the decision on how much they will cut rates during a downturn and how long rates will stay down before tightening resumes.
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