The pace of the US labor market is changing

T he US job market has really changed pace in the past six months. It stabilizes but the trend is not on the downside yet. It will be for the second half of the year.
Households have the perception that the trend is no longer improving and the number of available jobs no longer increases. As growth slows, the job market will inevitably change pace. It will be interesting just a few months before the presidential elections

Solid US job report in June

The #US June #employment report shows that the drop seen in May (72 000) was temporary. The June figure was 224 000 and 191 000 for the private sector. The average for both measure is close to figures observed in 2016 and 2017. No necessity for the Fed to act rapidly. In 2017, the Fed was tightening smoothly.

On the wage side, the deceleration is rapid at 3.14% on a year (3.4% in Feb.). Graph shows that the Fed rate can manage a plateau as long as wages do not drop rapidly. This would be caused by a strong growth slowdown. It’s not the case yet. Therefore, nothing is expected on the Fed’s side in July.

What to expect next week ? (July 1 – July 7, 2019)

Highlights

  • The ISM index for the manufacturing sector (July 1) will be the main indicator in the coming week. The slowdown in the US business cycle may be confirmed in June. 
  • The US labor market is the other main indicator (July 7). Its dynamics has recently changed as it adjusts to the new business cycle shape.
  • The Markit indices for the manufacturing sector (July 1) and for the services sector (July 3) will show the risk of a global recession for the manufacturing sector. The hope for the Eurozone is a strong services sector index that will allow an extension of the growth momentum.
    The Tankan survey in Japan will be out on July 1.
  • Employment in Germany for June (July 1) and retail sales for May (July 3) will show the possibility of maintaining a robust domestic demand or if it is necessary to have a stronger economic policy to cushion the impact of world trade negative shock on the German economy.
  • Retail sales in the Euro Area (July 4) for May will be a good proxy on the strength of the internal demand for the Euro zone.

    The document is here NextWeek-July1-July7-2019

Strong Labor Market in France

French employment is growing rapidly. 92 800 jobs have been added during the 1st quarter 2019. It’s more than the most optimistic forecasts and this figure is close to those strong numbers seen in 2017 when growth was stronger than now. Labor market reforms have been efficient.

With the strong economic policy measures on purchasing power that have been taken by the government, French growth is more autonomous and able to cushion the negative shock from world trade.

The French economy is becoming more robust

Reversal of the US labor market ?

The labor market indicator in the Conference Board household survey changed trend in March. It is always easy to find a job but the indicator is now on the downside.
Given the strong link with JOLTS labor market indicator, one may wonder about a possible reversal of the US labor market.
This is a signal that seems relevant to me (see here for longer data and more in-depth analysis).

The slow transformation of the labor market in France

The unemployment rate is stable in France in the third quarter. It stands at 8.8% for metropolitan France, as it was during spring and at 9.1% when overseas departments are included, again as it was in the second quarter. The pace of the unemployment rate is consistent with that of the economic cycle. Nevertheless, it reacts now a bit faster to the evolution of growth than before the 2008 crisis.
All the indicators suggest that growth is richer in jobs and that it regains some virtue with the increase in full-time work, the rise in fixed-term contracts and the decline in the share of fixed-term contracts.
The labor market is becoming more flexible and it is certainly a positive factor for the dynamics of employment. It is now necessary to improve the training component to further improve this phenomenon by enriching human capital. The aim is to bring down unemployment permanently and move towards full employment. The law passed last summer can contribute to it, it must now be implemented efficiently.
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