Unemployment rate ticked down 0.3 p.p. to 3.9% in December despite an underwhelming jobs report that showed 199K new jobs were added to the economy, well short of the 450K that economists had expected. The improvement brought the unemployment rate below the median FOMC’s expectation of the long-run neutral rate, which could be a catalyst to move the Fed’s more dovish members and moving the Fed Futures market to expect the first rate hike in March.
Increases in average hourly earnings slightly slowed to 4.7%, from 5.1%, though that pace of wage gains exceeds productivity growth and may continue to put upward pressure on prices.
The NASDAQ composite had a rough week as expectations for rate increases moved up, with the index losing 3.34% on Wednesday alone and 4.53% for the week, which was the worst week since… the last full week in February last year.
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