Interest Rate Roundup

Friday, January 08, 2010

Job market weak in December, easy money to keep on coming

The December jobs report was disappointing, with the economy shedding 85,000 jobs against expectations for an unchanged reading. November's reading was revised to +4,000 from -11,000. But the unemployment rate held at 10%, which has to be disappointing, and the separate household survey showed a nasty loss of 589,000 jobs.

Some slight positives: Average hourly earnings were up 0.2% and average weekly hours held at 33.2. Temporary help agencies added 47,000 jobs, the fifth positive reading in a row and a potential precursor to gains in full-time jobs. The private nonfarm diffusion index, which measures how many industries are shedding workers vs. how many are adding them, ticked up ever so slightly to 38.7 from 38.5.

This report virtually guarantees the Fed will keep flooding the markets with easy money. That seems to be the knee jerk reaction in the marketplace, too. The Dollar Index has given up early gains ... gold has swung from early losses to small gains ... and deferred-month eurodollar contracts are surging. That's the market pricing OUT Fed tightening.


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