Another upside surprise on US jobs growth with employment back at record highs. The fall in gasoline prices is set to boost household spending power, prompting an expected rebound in 3Q GDP of 3%+. With next week’s CPI report set to show core inflation rising above 6%, market momentum is swinging.
With another very strong job print in July, the US job market continues to astonish skeptics. This upside surprise brings US employment back to record highs. This time non-farm payrolls rose 528k against expectations of 250k, while there were a net 28k of upward revisions to the previous two months of data. The US payrolls number has beaten the consensus forecast for the third time in a row. More significantly, it also means that all the jobs lost during the pandemic have finally been fully recovered, with total payrolls at an all-time high of 152.54mn.
The private payrolls went up by 471k while the government went up 57k. All sectors posted gains, with education & health particularly strong (+122k), leisure and hospitality up 96k, and business services up 89k. Even construction (+32k) and manufacturing (+30k) were robust despite recent softness in activity numbers.
Given the fact that the US is in a technical recession after two consecutive quarters of negative growth, we doubt that this pace of employment growth can continue. However, we must acknowledge that the near-term economic story is looking great, with the substantial gasoline price fall likely leading to a 3Q rebound in activity.
Having peaked above $5/gallon in June, the national average price for gasoline is down at $4.11 today, with the recent declines in oil prices suggesting we could see gasoline dropping to $3.80/gallon in the next ten days or so. This boost to household finances can lift both sentiment and spending and already appears to be translating into greater movement around retail and recreation.
The coming week’s CPI report is set to show core inflation rising back up to 6%. With employment growth set to continue, albeit not at half a million jobs a month, likely, market momentum will inevitably swing towards a third consecutive 75bp hike.