In the United States, the deceleration of the job market is confirmed

Workers at the construction site of a Panasonic EV battery factory, May 18, 2023, near De Soto, Kansas.

The slowdown in the job market in the United States is confirmed. In August, the number of job creations was 187,000, significantly below the average for the past twelve months, which was 271,000, according to data published on Friday 1er September, by the US Bureau of Labor. The statistics have also been revised downwards for the months of June and July, down 110,000 jobs compared to the initial estimates. As for unemployment, it rose quite sharply, rising from 3.5% to 3.8% between July and August, returning to its highest level since the start of 2022.

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These data confirm that the astonishing dynamics of the job market since the end of the pandemic are coming to an end. However, it is not, for the moment, the recession that has been heralded many times, far from it: American growth, in the second quarter, at an annualized rate, was 2.1%, and it should be 2. 3% in the third quarter, according to economic research firm Capital Economics. “The markets are going to like it, reacted, on Twitter, Mohamed El-Erian, president of Queen’s College, at the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom, and specialist in financial markets. These are moderate signals for the economy. »

The stock markets actually reacted positively, all posting a slight increase, while US two-year interest rates fell from 5.1% at the start of the week to 4.9% on Friday.

Positive reception

This positive reception given to an economic slowdown reflects the paradoxical play of interest rates. To fight against inflation, the Federal Reserve (Fed, American central bank) increased its rates from 0% to 5.25% in eighteen months. If the rise in prices has slowed sharply – it was 3.2% in July – Jay Powell, its president, continues to be vigilant, worried in particular about the too lively labor market, which risks pushing wages to the bottom. rise. At the symposium of the annual meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole (Wyoming), on August 25, he repeated it: “Reducing inflation to 2% on a sustainable basis [son objectif] should require a period of moderate growth as well as an easing of labor market conditions. »

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The Fed’s whole bet is to achieve this while avoiding a collapse of the economy, an ideal soft landing scenario. Friday’s statistics go rather in this direction: they are “more moderate but solid job creation – that’s what the markets and the Fed were expecting”, believes Florian Ielpo, director of macroeconomics at Lombard Odier, an et management group. Be careful, replies economist Véronique Riches-Flores: “the employment figures offer the opportunity for a break from the Fed in September, the rest, we will see. »

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