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The $1 Million question: Where is the US Jobs Market Headed?

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The jobs report is widely followed by the analysts as it affects all the important markets – equity, bond, gold, and forex. But, what is it that makes the jobs report so important and what is the current trend in the jobs report telling us?

Key Observations

  • June’s jobs numbers show that the economic recovery is on track
  • Wage growth remains sticky and may hurt inflation numbers if it doesn’t recover
  • For now, the US Federal Reserve unlikely to change its forecast for 2017

Let’s first understand why is the report so important.

What is the Importance of the Jobs Report

The United States is a consumer driven market, with personal spending accounting for 70% of the GDP. The jobs report provides a good insight into the state of the economy, as it gives an idea about the change in the spending power of the American public.

When the economy is booming, the employers add more employees to cater to the increased demand. Additionally, if unemployment is low, the employers shell out higher wages to attract talent. All these, in turn, puts more money into the employee’s pockets, which is reflected in greater spending that boosts the GDP.

On the other hand, if the economy is struggling, demand decreases and the employers cut jobs to reduce their costs. This reduces the spending power of the consumers. The people who can spend also tend to save to cater for uncertain times. This again lowers demand and it becomes a vicious circle that can lead to a recession.

Nevertheless, it is not enough to have a high employment rate. A growth in temporary jobs, decrease in the number of working hours per week, and low wage growth are signs that the employers are still not convinced of the economy. Such an economy usually shows anemic growth.

What has been the Trend in the Jobs Report since 2009

“The Great Recession” wiped off about 8.8 million jobs by February 2010, from its prerecession peak in January 2008. However, as 2010 progressed, the labor market stabilized and employers began adding jobs encouraged by low interest rates and a confidence that the Fed would do whatever it takes to support the economy.

The average job growth per month rose steadily from 2010, until it peaked at an average monthly addition of 250,000 jobs in 2014. That year, 3 million jobs were added. Since then, the average additions have been decreasing gradually, but have remained above the 2 million mark every year.

In 2016, the average jobs growth was 187,000, which has reduced marginally in the first half of 2017 to 180,000.

However, as the job market matures, the net jobs being added every month will slowdown. After all, the number of jobless people have reduced drastically in the past seven years.

Nevertheless, in June, the economy did not show any signs of a slowdown, as it added 222,000 new jobs, easily beating analysts’ expectations of 179,000 job additions. With the latest report, the US has seen 81 consecutive months of jobs growth.

“We’re been creating close to 200,000 jobs a month now for more than seven years. That’s just an incredible achievement. And that machine is still humming,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, after the June jobs report, reports The Washington Post.

However, another critical factor along with jobs, wage growth, remains disappointing

Wage Growth is Weak

The Economic Policy Institute says that “slow wage growth is a key sign of how far the US economy remains from a full recovery”.

In June, the average hourly earnings increased by only 0.2% – an annual gain to 2.5%. Though the labor market has tightened, wage growth has remained sluggish.

Michael Stull, senior vice president at job placement firm Manpower North America, believes that the wage growth is anaemic because the skilled workers are unwilling to take a lower-paying job, while the employers believe that the available workforce is not technically qualified enough for the available positions with a higher pay.

Achieving a 2% inflation can become difficult if the wage growth continues to remain sluggish. So, should the Fed hold their forecast for one more rate hike this year or should they go ahead with it? The analysts are divided.

“Cycles don’t last forever, and we’re late in this economic cycle, and we have the Fed starting to raise rates. It’s a typical combination that causes lower growth and the danger of recession,” said Ed Keon, managing director and portfolio manager at QMA, reports CNBC.

However, most other analysts believe that with a tightening jobs market, the wage growth is likely to catch up in the future and they expect the Fed to go ahead with one more rate hike by the end of this year.

How did the Jobs Number Affect the Equity, Bond, Forex and Gold Markets?

The US stock markets are quoting at a rich valuation; hence, they need evidence that the economy will deliver a strong growth. June’s job report underlined the belief that the economy is picking up steam. As a result, the S&P 500 rallied 0.64%.

A strong economy will aid the Fed’s resolve to reduce its balance sheet and hike rates towards normalcy. Both the above are negative for save haven like gold. Therefore, gold extended its fall on Friday by 1.05%.

The bond traders, however, closely watch the wage growth because it gives a better insight into the inflation expectations. A muted increase in wages is unlikely to push inflation towards the Feds target zone of 2%. Therefore, the bond markets saw a sluggish response. The US 10-year Treasury note rose 2.3 basis points to end at 2.393% – the highest close since May 11. However, the bond yields remain below the highs of above 2.6% achieved in March of this year.

The US dollar index (DXY), which tracks the performance of the Greenback against six major currencies rose a modest 0.2%.

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 9 rated postsRakesh Upadhyay is a Technical Analyst and Portfolio Consultant for The Summit Group. He has more than a decade of experience as a private trader. His philosophy is to use technical analysis for momentum trading and fundamental analysis for long-term positions. Rakesh likes to keep himself fit by lifting weights and considers himself to be a spiritual person.




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Analysis

Crypto Update: Bitcoin Touched $4000 as Broad Rally Continues

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Yesterday’s break-out to new short-term highs continued today in the cryptocurrency segment, with Bitcoin’s push towards the $4000 making headlines in the segment. The most valuable coin surged past the $3850 level, dragging most of the majors higher, but Ethereum and most of yesterday’s leaders lagged behind BTC during today’s session.

That said, the short-term trend remains positive in case of the majority of the coins, and even though some of the top currencies are overbought, the counter-trend move could continue. In light of the increased activity, trading volumes, and volatility in the market, the majors might be in for a more sustained bullish, move, and as now only Ripple is showing clear signs of relative weakness, despite today’s rally, the leadership of the short-term move looks healthy.

While the long-term picture is still clearly negative in the segment, until the newly established short-term uptrends remain intact, traders could still play the move, sticking to strict risk management rules and relatively small position sizes.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While Bitcoin left behind the initial resistance level near $3850, and quickly rallied up to the strong longer-term zone between $4000 and $4050, it might need to consolidate before another push higher. BTC is slightly overbought from a short-term perspective, and given the significance of the resistance, traders could exit a part of their positions here.

The $4000-$4050 zone stopped the year-end rally (outside of a brief, failed break-out), and a move above it could open up the road towards the $4250 and the crucial $4450 levels. Below $3850, further support is found near $3600 and just above $3450, and our trend model remains on a short-term buy signal and long-term sell signal.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum continues to trade near the $145 resistance level following yesterday’s surge, and bulls are still eyeing a test of the next major resistance zone near $160, which marked the top of the previous counter-trend move in the coin.

While the coin is still overbought form a short-term perspective, given the momentum if its recent move, the rally could continue after a brief consolidation period. The newly-established uptrend is intact in ETH, and traders could enter new positions should the overbought readings got cleared, with support levels found near $130 and $112.

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Although Ripple continues to be relatively weak compared its major peers, today it spiked to a new 5-week high, riding the market-wide trend and testing a strong declining trendline in the process. The coin triggered a short-term buy signal in our trend model by topping its January swing high, but given its relative weakness, traders should focus on the more bullish coins during the current counter-trend move.

The long-term setup remains negative, and from a broader perspective, odds still favor the test of the key long-term $0.28 and $0.26 levels, with further support levels found near $0.32 and $0.30, and with short-term targets being ahead near $0.3550, and $$0.3750.

EOS Continues to Lead but Litecoin Struggles to Gain Ground

LTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

LTC continues to trade slightly above last week’s highs but compared to the leaders of the current leg of the rally it remained relatively weak today. With that and the still negative long-term setup in mind, traders should exit a part of their positions here, even as the short-term uptrend is intact and a push towards the next major resistance level near $51 is still possible. Our trend model is still on a buy signal, as a failed break-out is not yet confirmed, with support levels still found near $44, $38, and $34.50.

EOS/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EOS remained relatively strong today, spiking above the $3.80 level after leaving behind the $3.50 resistance. Now, the coin is clearly overbought from a short-term perspective, and that led to a downgrade in our trend model as a pullback is now likely.

The short-term trend remains bullish despite the correction risks, and should the coin clear the overbought momentum readings traders could reenter their position following strict risk management rules. Support is now found near $3.50, $3, and $2,80 while strong resistance is ahead near $4.50 and $5.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Disclaimer:  The analyst owns cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but doesn’t engage in short-term or day-trading, nor does he hold short positions on any of the coins.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 466 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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Altcoins

XRP Price Analysis: Explosive Breakout from Pennant Confirmed; SBI Holdings CEO Bullish on XRP

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  • XRP/USD is enjoying three consecutive sessions of gains, having jumped around 17%.
  • SBI Holdings CEO believes XRP market capitalization will be higher than bitcoin’s.

Ripple’s XRP price has been enjoying a decent move to the north over the past few sessions, as life flows back into the bulls. XRP/USD is currently running at a third consecutive session in the green, having gained around 17% within this period. The explosion of buying pressure came after the price managed to escape a bullish pennant pattern.

XRP/USD: Price Recap

XRP/USD had initially been cooling since the big bull run at the back end of 2018. The price rallied on 24th December up to a high of around $0.4670, before quickly losing upside momentum. It was then forced to trade within the confinements of a descending wedge pattern. XRP lost over 30% in value before it was able to break out from the wedge.

On 8th February a chunky push higher from the bulls was observed, resulting in a breach of the upper acting trend line. XRP/USD jumped around 10% on this day but then eased south to retest the trend line for a few sessions. During the cooling period, price action has formed a pennant structure which saw an eventual big breakout to the upside, as described earlier.

SBI Holdings CEO Bullish on XRP

The SBI Holdings CEO, Yoshitaka Kitao, was recently speaking on XRP and said this year is a significant one for the so-called banker’s cryptocurrency. He believes that the market capitalization of XRP is likely to dwarf bitcoin’s at some point in the future. Kitao has firm belief in the future sucess of XRP and can see it being adopted on a global scale. He was quoted saying:

“Because XRP is already beginning to become international, xRapid will be used for fund transfers in 2019. By increasing the so-called XRP’s plastic use, we anticipate that the XRP market capitalization will easily exceed the market capitalization of bitcoin.”

SBI has many joint ventures set up with Ripple across the blockchain industry; it’s therefore not too surprising to see such comments. The organization will also be launching its very own cryptocurrency exchange called VCTRADE, scheduled for March. Deposits and withdrawals for bitcoin, XRP, and Ethereum (ETH) are already available on the platform.

Technical Review – XRP/USD

XRP/USD daily chart.

Given current upside, eyes must now be on the next likely barriers of resistance for the bulls. A supply area noted from $0.3450 up to $0.3600 is the next target; XRP has not traded comfortably above this region since 10th January. A break above this zone should put the bulls in an excellent position to retest the $0.4000 area. On several occasions, this price territory has caused issues for the bulls in their attempts to push further north. In terms of support, this is seen back down at the psychological $0.3000 mark. If that fails to hold, then there is a demand which runs from $0.3000 down to $0.2500.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 124 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Analysis

3 Things You Need to Know About the Market Today: New High in Gold, Dow 26,000?, Euro Weakness

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1, Gold Jumps to 9-Month High, $1360 in Sight

Gold Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

We have been following the resurrection of gold in the past few months, and since fundamentals just got better for the precious metal, the current technical strength is great news for long-term investors. Today, gold quietly reached a new 9-month high, despite the still ongoing risk rally and the relative strength of the US Dollar.

The metal topped the $1330 level, and with the next major resistance level being found near $1360, a quick surge to the vicinity is in the cards in the coming days. We continue to advise holding gold for the long run, and for now, the short-term technicals also remain bullish. Should the risk rally finally roll over, the uptrend could even accelerate, with longer-term targets being found near $1400 and $1550.

2, US Stocks Drift Lower After Long Weekend as Trade Talks Resume

Dow 30 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

US stocks are having a quiet start for the day, with the major indices drifting slightly lower following the long weekend. The US economic calendar is empty today, and all eyes will be on the trade talks with China which are set to resume today in Washington in the wake of the unexpected extension of last week’s round of negotiations in Beijing.

The Dow, which approached the 26,000 level last week during the Friday surge to new 9-week highs, is lower today, in-line with the market-wide trends. The mega-cap index could get a lift in early trading thanks to the better-than-expected quarterly report by Walmart (WMT). The firm’s holiday-quarter sales topped estimates, despite the reports regarding the widening growth-gap between online and brick-and-mortar stores, and in light of the positive guidance by the company, the pre-market surge in the stock is no surprise.

With the week’s main economic releases coming in the second half of the period, today we could be in for another choppy session on Wall Street. That said, the momentum of the recovery-rally continues to be suspicious, and especially given the weakness in the Nasdaq, investors should pay close attention to the Volatility Index (VIX), market internals and other under-the-hood indicators for signs of negative divergences.

3, Euro Under Pressure Again, Despite Sentiment Beat

EUR/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While the Dollar’s break-out to new multi-year highs still didn’t happen last week, technicals continue to agree that the long-term uptrend in the reserve currency will continue. The Euro, on the other hand, is still showing signs of broad weaknes, drifing lower against the Dollar and the Pound today, despite the better-than-expected German Zew Economic Sentiment report.

The indicator is still deep in negative territory, and together with the recent weakness in the Eurozone PMIs and industrial production, recessionary fears seem to be legit in Europe.

We will have a new batch of PMIs coming out tomorrow, and together with the Fed minutes a huge day could be ahead for forex markets and especially for the EUR/USD pair. The 1.12 level could be tested in the case of another negative surprise in the PMIs, while the Fed minutes will be under scrutiny even more than usual following the sharp dovish shift by the Central Bank.

ChartBook

Major Stock Indices

S&P 500 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Nasdaq 100 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

VIX (US Volatility Index), 4-Hour Chart Analysis

DAX 30 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

FTSE 100 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EuroStoxx50 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Nikkei 225 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Shanghai Composite Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EEM (Emerging Markets ETF), 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Forex

USD/JPY, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

GBP/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EUR/GBP, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

AUD/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Commodities

WTI Crude Oil, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Copper Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 466 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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