As the global market crisis continues, the danger posed by this crisis to the U.S. economy continues to be underestimated by economists and central bankers. A report recently showed that U.S. job openings surged in December and the number of American voluntarily quitting work hit a nine-year high. According to the report, this data points to “labor market strength despite a slowdown in economic growth.”
Further commenting on the supposedly improving labor market, Reuters stated: “The signs of a robust jobs market could ease concerns about the health of the economy, which were underscored by other reports on Feb. 9 showing a drop in small business confidence in January to a two-year low and further declines in wholesale inventories.”
It was also noted that economists at the Federal Reserve look at these numbers to determine their monetary policy. What this translates to is that the Fed now has another incentive to continue pursuing their tightening policy. This is exactly the opposite of what the market needs. Indeed, the direction of Treasury yields (below) is screaming to the Fed that looser money is what it desperately wants.
Reuters quoted Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors, as saying: “If the labor market is tightening, can the economy really be faltering?” Allow me to answer his question with an emphatic “yes!”
Most economists continually underestimate the degree to which the stock market acts as an extension of money supply. That’s why the saying, “As goes the stock market, so goes the economy,” is so true. The global bear market in equities has already led to trillions of dollars in losses, and this will sooner or later show up in the U.S. economic numbers. Unfortunately, by the time it does it may be too late for the Fed to take effective action to forestall recession.
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