Sunday, October 05, 2014

Monday: Fed Labor Market Conditions Index

by Bill McBride on 10/05/2014 08:50:00 PM

An interesting post from Tim Duy: Is There a Wage Growth Puzzle?

The unemployment and wage growth dynamics to date are actually very similar to what we have seen in the past. Low wage growth to date is not the "smoking gun" of proof of the importance of underemployment measures. There very well may have been much more labor market healing that many are willing to accept, even many FOMC members. The implications for monetary policy are straightforward - it suggests the risk leans toward tighter than anticipated policy.
My current view is that NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment) is lower than most FOMC participants think.  My view is NAIRU is closer to 4% than 6%, whereas the central tendency for FOMC participants is in the 5.2% to 5.5% range with some thinking NAIRU is as high as 6%.

 I think there are demographic reasons for the low NAIRU (the last time we saw the working age population increase this slowly, inflation didn't start to increase until the unemployment rate fell to around 4%).  If I'm correct about NAIRU (and no one knows for sure), the unemployment rate could fall much further without a significant pickup in inflation. Also I think the risks for the FOMC of moving too quickly (inflation too low) far outweigh the risk of moving too slowly (too much inflation).

• Early, Early: Black Knight Mortgage Monitor report for August.

• At 10:00 AM ET, the Fed will release the new monthly Labor Market Conditions Index (LMCI).

Schedule for Week of October 5th

From CNBC: Pre-Market Data and Bloomberg futures: the S&P futures are up 3 and DOW futures are also up 17 (fair value).

Oil prices were down over the last week with WTI futures at $89.56 per barrel and Brent at $91.90 per barrel.  A year ago, WTI was at $103, and Brent was at $109 - so prices are down close to 15% year-over-year.

Below is a graph from for nationwide gasoline prices. Nationally prices are around $3.30 per gallon (down about 5 cents from a year ago).  If you click on "show crude oil prices", the graph displays oil prices for WTI, not Brent; gasoline prices in most of the U.S. are impacted more by Brent prices.

Orange County Historical Gas Price Charts Provided by