In July, the annual inflation rate in the United States gained momentum, and concurrently, jobless claims saw a decline. These developments are strengthening expectations that the Federal Reserve might maintain its current interest rates during the upcoming September policy meeting.
Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Index Shows 3.3% Yearly Increase
The Commerce Department’s Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) index recorded a 3.3% increase over the 12 months leading up to July, aligning with expectations. This rate was higher than the previous month’s 3.0% rise.
Monthly PCE Index Remains Unchanged
On a monthly basis, the PCE index remained steady at the anticipated 0.2%.
Core Inflation Holds at 4.2% Yearly
The core inflation reading, which excludes volatile items like food and energy, maintained its pace at 4.2% on a yearly basis and remained constant at 0.2% on a monthly basis.
PCE Price Indices Crucial for Fed’s 2% Inflation Target
The PCE price indices serve as the Federal Reserve’s preferred measures for achieving its 2% inflation target. Taming surging prices has been a central objective of the Fed’s ongoing campaign to increase borrowing costs, which has led to a rise in the federal funds rate from near-zero to a range of 5.25% to 5.50%.
Interest Rate Impact on Labor Market
Recent data suggests that the elevated interest rate environment may be impacting the robust U.S. labor market. In July, job openings and resignations decreased, and private payroll growth slowed down in August.
Jobless Claims Dip in Latest Week
Data from the Labor Department showed a decline in first-time claims for unemployment benefits, slipping to 228,000 for the week ending August 26, down from a revised 232,000 in the previous week. Economists had predicted a slight increase to 235,000. The four-week moving average, which smooths out weekly fluctuations, inched up by 250 to 237,500.
Fed’s Efforts to Cool Labor Demand
The Federal Reserve has placed a significant emphasis on reducing labor demand as part of its tightening cycle, with the aim of curbing wage growth and alleviating inflationary pressures.
Anticipated Nonfarm Payrolls Report
Investors are eagerly awaiting the release of the nonfarm payrolls report on Friday, which is expected to provide a comprehensive overview of the job market. Projections indicate an addition of 170,000 roles in August, a slight decrease from the 187,000 added in the previous month.