The stock market suddenly reversed course and shot up 140 points from its low today, so I thought I’d see if I could find out why. Apparently there was a paragraph in a Federal Reserve document in which they said they didn’t think they would need to “accelerate” interest rate increases.
In that paragraph members of the committee noted that even though “the required amount of cumulative tightening may have increased, an accelerated pace of tightening did not appear necessary at this time, as a degree of economic slack apparently remained, productivity growth would probably continue to damp increases in unit labor costs and prices, and inflation would most likely continue to be contained.”
For Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist, at Spencer Clarke LLC, the phrasing shows “that while the FOMC is aware that inflationary pressures are moving to the upside, excess slack in the economy combined with still solid productivity growth and contained inflation expectations should allow the Fed to continue raising rates at a measured pace over the next several meetings.”
Productivity growth – meaning fewer people working more hours for the same money – will “damp increases” in labor costs.
OK, I filled up two gas tanks yesterday for a combined $70. SEVENTY DOLLARS. I just came from the supermarket where cereal is now over $6. Housing costs are increasing 20% a year here, and 20% a MONTH in places like Reno.
But LABOR COSTS (namely: you) are under control so everything is copacetic. Watch your backs.