Tight job market has a friend in the Fed

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The U.S. job market is humming along and there are signs this may continue for the rest of the year, even if the pace moderates. 

“Seventy-two percent of CEOs [are] saying that they expect to modestly or significantly increase their workforce over the next 12 months,” KPMG U.S. Chair and CEO Paul Knopp told FOX Business following the firm’s April CEO Outlook Pulse Survey of 100 U.S. CEOs of large companies. “If you look at the economy, though, for more of a macro level, what I’m seeing is CEOs are seeing more clarity on the direction of interest rates.” 

The Federal Reserve held interest rates steady for the sixth-straight time on Wednesday, and while the plan to cut rates has been pushed out to what will likely be the second half of the year, according to the CME’s FedWatch Tool, Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged that jobs are plentiful.

INSIDE FED’S LATEST DECISION ON INTEREST RATES

“The labor market remains relatively tight, but supply-and-demand conditions have come into better balance,” said Powell during his press conference. “Strong job creation over the past year has been accompanied by an increase in the supply of workers, reflecting increases in participation among individuals aged 25 to 54 years and a continued strong pace of immigration.”

Fed, Powell

PRIVATE HIRING SURPRISES: ADP

Fresh data points this week reinforce a resilient labor picture. The ADP report, which measures private hiring, showed 192,000 positions added in April, while March hiring was revised up to 208,000 vs. 184,000.

Job openings, measured in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), slipped to 8.5 million, down from the record 12 million reported in March 2022, but remains elevated.

Jobs

“Demand is still strong, the demand side of the labor market in particular, but it’s cooled from its extremely high level of a couple of years ago. And you see that in job openings. You saw more evidence of that today in the JOLTS report,” Powell said.

According to employment firm Indeed, which Powell mentioned on Wednesday, job postings remain elevated but saw a 0.4% slip in April.

“Demand for new hires has cooled, but job postings remain above their pre-pandemic level, and job openings outnumber unemployed workers,” according to Indeed’s Hiring Lab.

The government’s employment report wowed in March with a surprise 303,000 new jobs created. On Friday, economists are expecting to see that 243,000 positions were added last month. The unemployment rate is expected to stay at 3.8%.

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