The Bank of England’s decision to peg any move in interest rates to the downward progress of unemployment has invested the monthly figures, due today, with huge importance.
Of the week’s economic data, today’s UK unemployment stands out since the Bank of England has pegged any move up in interest rates to a fall in the unemployment rate from 7.8 percent to below 7.0. The rate is forecast to have held at 7.8 percent in July.
It turns out people are better employment forecasters than economists. A report from New York Fed economists finds that confidence measures gleaned from consumer surveys are very tightly correlated with the path of U.S. employment.
U.S. economists were generally disappointed with the net gain of 162,000 jobs last month, well below forecasts around 180,000 and market talk of a possible reading above 200,000. The jobless rate did fall to 7.4 percent from 7.6 percent, but labor force participation also resumed its recent descent.
It’s a good news, bad news story: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) survey in June showed an increase in job openings, but a decline in new hires. The ratio of unemployed Americans to each open job fell in June to its lowest level in over four years.
Job number one at the Federal Reserve these days is to bring down high U.S. unemployment without sparking inflation. Job number two, it sometimes seems, is explaining just how unemployment got so high in the first place.
Surprise! Euro zone unemployment was stuck at record high of 12.2 percent in May, with the number of jobless quickly climbing towards 20 million. Still, as accustomed to grim job market headlines from Europe as the world has become, it is worth perusing through the Eurostat release for some of the nuances in the figures.