The Balance Today: News You Need To Know on Dec. 2, 2022

Job Market Stays Strong Despite Fed’s Moves

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Despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts, the labor market is still going strong. Today’s jobs report showed the U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs in November, more than the 200,000 jobs that economists expected. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%. 

Recent rate hikes from the Fed are designed to pump the brakes on an overheated economy that has sent inflation surging to an annual rate of 7.7%. One of the side effects of rate hikes is often higher levels of unemployment—something that just hasn’t happened yet. In addition, hourly earnings rose last month, as workers continue to maintain leverage over employers who still need employees. 

But low levels of unemployment are a good thing, right? Not necessarily. If most people remain employed and earn even higher pay, it means that most U.S. workers will have the income to continue to spend, which would make bringing down inflation more difficult. 

But there is a silver lining: It’s unlikely that the economy will enter into a recession as long as most Americans remain employed. 

In what we call “good news as bad news,” stocks tumbled this morning after the jobs data was released. Since the Fed views the strength of the labor market as a proxy for the strength of the economy, it’s more likely that policymakers will think the economy is strong enough to withstand another jumbo-sized rate hike. For most of us, not only will our portfolios take a hit, but it will also make it pricier to get a loan, whether that’s a mortgage or credit card debt.

Markets are still fairly confident that the Fed will hand us a more moderate rate hike this month, with fed fund futures data tracked by CME Group showing a nearly 75% chance of a hike by 50 basis points. 

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. MarketWatch. "U.S. Economic Calendar."

  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Employment Situation Summary."

  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Consumer Price Index Summary."

  4. CME. "FedWatch Tool."

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