Labor Day celebrates our workforce while marking the end of summer. This year it also reminds us of that new jobs and new entrants to the work force are contributing to a resilient U.S. economy and declining inflation. The S&P 500 ended August down 1.8% but remains up 17.4% year-to-date
- Last Friday’s report on August employment showed 187,000 new jobs, moderating wage growth – average hourly earnings being up 4.3% over the past 12 months — and an increase in labor force participation which boosted the unemployment rate to 3.8%
- The Fed’s preferred inflation metric – core Personal Consumption Expenditures prices — rose 0.2% in July, which is a 2.9% annualized rate over the past three months and down from a 3.3% rate for the three months ending in June.
- Real consumption increased by 0.6% m/m in July, following a 0.4% gain in June, and third-quarter consumption growth is expected to be between 4.0% and 4.5% annualized, supporting the notion of a “soft landing” for the economy. With personal incomes up only 0.2%, the spending increase largely was financed by a drop in the personal savings rate.
The U.S. fiscal deficit is expected to double this year even with a resilient economy, labor force and corporate profits outlook.
- After extraordinary pandemic related spending in 2020 and 2021, the deficit fell from close to $3 trillion to about $1 trillion. It was expected to fall further in the current fiscal year ending September 30, 2023. Instead, it is projected to grow to $2 trillion.
- The U.S. economy is expected to grow at a 2% rate in 2023, and unemployment remains at historic lows. Corporate profits have held up well during inflation and are projected to grow 12% over the next 12 months.
- The two main culprits for higher deficits are increased interest costs on a higher national debt – now nearly $32.7 trillion versus $22.7 trillion at the end of 2019 – and increased Federal spending which also is up 16% over the past 12 months.
- Every 1% increase in the Treasury’s borrowing cost increases its current annual debt-service cost by $327 billion. Over the past three years, short term Treasury rates have risen from 0.25% to 5.25% and the 10-year Treasury rate has increased from 0.55% to 4.15%.
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