A smooth decline in unemployment against the background of steady wage growth and high inflation may strengthen the Fed's intentions to accelerate the curtailment of economic recovery programs and increase the key rate.
The US Department of Labor has published a report according to which the unemployment rate in December 2021 dropped to 3.9% for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. This is reported by Bloomberg.
For comparison, in April 2020, unemployment in the United States peaked at 14.8% versus 3.5% in the months before the pandemic. In total, almost 200 thousand new jobs in the non—agricultural sector were created in the country last month - two times less than the projected 450 thousand.
In December, 53 thousand new jobs were created in the leisure and hotel business. Employment in the business services sector also increased, while in the retail sector it decreased. Manufacturing and construction companies reported a significant increase in hiring last month, which gives hope for some easing of capacity constraints.
At the same time, the average hourly wage increased: according to the report, the growth in December was 0.6%, which was the most noticeable increase since April. In annual terms, the growth was 4.7%. Although the highest inflation in the country in the last 39 years partially negates these achievements, a steady increase in wages, according to analysts, indicates the willingness of employers to raise wages to retain their employees.
This state of affairs in the labor market, combined with a sharp jump in prices, may strengthen the Fed in its desire to raise the key rate. According to The New York Times, representatives of the US Federal Reserve System (FRS) expect that the key rate in the US in 2022 may rise three times, while by the end of the year unemployment will return to the pre-pandemic level.
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