The Jobs Report And Fed Watching Less Important For This Reason


December 1, 2016, 4:00pm EST

Tomorrow we get the last jobs report of the year.  And unlike the other 11 this year, this one doesn’t have the same buzz surrounding it, even though we have a big Fed meeting coming in just two weeks.

Why? It’s no longer a Fed-driven (monetary policy-driven) world.  The switch has been flipped.  With the Trump presidency bringing structural change and fiscal stimulus to the table; the markets, the economy, sentiment that has hinged so tightly to each data point has become far less fragile.

Earlier in the week, I talked about the inflationary effect of an OPEC cut. That’s continuing to reflect in the interest rate market.  The 10 year yield ran up to just shy of 2.50% today.  On a relative basis, it’s a huge move.  Given where it has traveled from, it looks like an incredibly dramatic and even a destabilizing move.   But on an absolute basis, a 2.5% interest rate on lending your money for 10 years is peanuts (i.e. it remains a highly attractive borrowing environment).

And if we step back and consider where we were last December, when the Fed made its first move on rates, the market had priced in the rate hike, and stood at 2.25% going into the decision.  Following the Fed’s move, the bond markets started expressing the view that the Fed had made a mistake in its projection that the economy could withstand four hikes over the subsequent 12 months.  That’s what they were telegraphing.  And for that, the bond market began telegraphing chances of a Fed-induced recession.

Given the events of the past month, and the outlook for a more pro-growth environment for next year, the message that the bond market is sending is simply a perfectly priced in 25 basis point hike by the Fed this month, into an economy that can withstand it.  Imagine that.

The fact that the jobs numbers and the Fed are becoming a smaller piece of the market narrative is very positive.  In fact, I would argue there hasn’t been a jobs report, with a Fed meeting nearby, that has been less scrutinized in eight years.

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