A Jobs Report of an Economy Plugging Along Just Fine Despite 5.5% Rates & Recession Fears. But Wage Growth Heats Up

Average hourly earnings fuel worries on the inflation front.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

It was the kind of jobs data you’d expect from an economy that is plugging along just fine. The number of payroll jobs created by employers was “better than expected,” the prior two months were revised down, and after revisions, over the past three months, companies added 494,000 workers to their payrolls, bringing the total number of jobs to a record 157.2 million, as per the surveys of employers.

In all of 2023, employers added 2.70 million workers to their payrolls, which was one of the better years of the past 25 years – despite the interest rates that the Fed jacked up to 5.5%:

Employment in the vast and diversified US labor market doesn’t suddenly plunge from one month to the next, unless there is some kind of shock, such as the Lehman bankruptcy or a lockdown. Efforts to measure the details of this vast and complex labor market monthly via surveys of employers and households create monthly ups and downs that then show up in the headlines, when in fact the trends did not change.

A cottage industry has sprung up around predicting what this or that number would be for the month, and then the headlines will have “more than expected” or “less than expected” in it, as if it made any difference what anyone expected about this monthly up-and-down noise.

So people poured over today’s jobs data, picking apart the monthly ups and downs, arguing over the seasonal adjustments, revisions, the structure of the data itself, and whatnot. But we want to see the trends.

Overall employment, those with salaried jobs and the self-employed, a broader and more volatile measure based on a survey of households, dropped bigly in December, after a big jump in November, after a drop in October, etc., and that stuff happens, I mean who wants to answer surveys just before Christmas or Thanksgiving.

So over the past three months, the total number of working people fell by 367,000. But over the prior three months, they’d jumped by 546,000, and that’s how it goes with this volatile stuff, and one month doesn’t show anything other than noise.

In all of 2023, total employment increased by 1.88 million, which is typical for an economy that is plugging along just fine – despite the 5.5% interest rates.

The number of unemployed people who are actively looking for a job, after wobbling higher from historic lows at the beginning of 2023, thereby showing some cooling of the overheated labor market, suddenly dipped by 446,000 over the past three months, and the three-month moving average shows this. Maybe more noise, maybe the beginning of a trend:

All year, folks have been hoping that a significant drop in the labor market would “force” the Fed to cut rates in 2023. But that didn’t happen. The labor market has been plugging along at a good clip all year, and the expected decline in jobs packaged with a recession – the most widely anticipated recession ever – has failed to appear.

We can quibble with some of the details, but overall, the jobs data has been fine all year, exactly what you’d expect from an economy that’s just plugging right along.

And there has been nothing in this labor market data that would “force” the Fed to cut rates and end this horrible record QT and start QE all over again in their dreams because QE, or the hopes for QE, has been the only thing that works for stocks.

But on the inflation front, some concerns are building up in the other direction: Average hourly earnings of “production and non-supervisory employees,” after cooling sharply, are reaccelerating.

These “production and non-supervisory employees” – the bulk of total employment but excluding the management types – include working supervisors and all employees in nonsupervisory roles, including engineers, designers, doctors and nurses, teachers, office workers, sales people, bartenders, technicians, drivers, retail workers, wait staff, construction workers, plumbers, etc.

The 3MMA in December rose to 0.39%. Annualized, that’s 4.8%, the highest since January 2023. The month-to-month wage increases jump up and down a lot. Maybe just more noise, or maybe the beginning of a new trend of wage growth in the 4% to 5% range:

Hot wage increases were a persistent topic during Powell’s press conferences in 2022 and earlier in 2023. Then the topic shifted to wage increases cooling off, which introduced the hot-button topic of being done with the rate hikes, and maybe seeing a few cuts in 2024 – a gazillion rate cuts, according to Wall Street bets, because, well, we don’t know why. So now we can look forward to the new topic of wage growth re-accelerating?


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  216 comments for “A Jobs Report of an Economy Plugging Along Just Fine Despite 5.5% Rates & Recession Fears. But Wage Growth Heats Up

  1. Glen says:

    There a bunch of states with minimum wage increases in 2024, and many of them not just legislation(i.e. workers were already making that so impact of law is negligible). Seems like 2024 will have continued wage growth and potentially some amount of additional inflation to offset those wage gains.

    • BS ini says:

      CA maybe with Wolf living there we can get some good data on the effect of min wage changes

      • Wolf Richter says:

        The wages needed to be able to hire entry-level workers in bigger and big cites in CA have been above the local and state minimum wages for a while.

        A few years ago, before Covid, a friend of mine who owned a restaurant said that he couldn’t hire anyone to even wash dishes for less than $20 an hour. At the time, that was the going wage for basic restaurant work. The min. wage in SF at the time was about $15.

        Today, the minimum wage in SF is $18.07. I don’t think many people earn this minimum wage. You just cannot hire anyone for that.

        • JBird4049 says:

          I can see this being true as $2000 per month is entry level for shelter in California.

        • joedidee says:

          well you can earn $30 an hour, but if you’re not full time w/benefits good luck
          1,500,000 FULL TIME JOBS lost in report
          record # 2nd job workers

        • Wolf Richter says:

          They were up in Oct. and Nov. They fell in Dec. They’ll bounce back in January and February. Then don’t come crying to me that the data is bad. Month-to-month data from the household survey is incredibly volatile. RTGDFA. That was the whole point.

        • Mike says:

          Are a large percentage of the jobs government?

        • Wolf Richter says:


          Federal gov: +7,000 = 3% of jobs created.

          State gov: +8,000 includes education (universities, colleges, etc.) and healthcare

          Local gov: +37,000 mostly teachers (primary, secondary), community colleges, other education, and healthcare. Most of the local government employees are in education.

          Healthcare is huge, with 22 million employees: +53,700
          Construction: +17,000
          Manufacturing: +6,000
          Retail: +17,000
          Information: +14,000
          Professional & business services: +13,000
          Leisure & hospitality: +40,000
          Art & Entertainment: +6,000

          About 40,000 of those “government” jobs were in education (primary, secondary, university, colleges, etc.). WHY IS THAT A PROBLEM FOR YOU????

          Local government jobs: +37,000. Education faced teacher shortages and colleges faces shortages, and now at the end of 2023 the jobs are finally back they’d been at the beginning of 2020.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          The ”problem” with the increase in employees in public education is that most are NOT in fact teachers Wolf.
          Public middle and high schools I attended, admittedly 60 plus years ago, ( one HS w 2200 kids, the other w 400 ) both had ONE principal, also an experienced teacher, and their administrative assistant, ONE janitor, and the rest of staff were teachers.
          Certainly, almost all the teachers also were instrumental as coaches or advisors/supervisors for other ”after school/clubs” functions, which was very important for kids getting comfortable with adults not their parents.
          Now, non teaching staff has grown out of all proportion, and the kids are shuffled around like chess pieces. That was true when I was a teacher for a couple of years in a couple of high schools in CA in the mid 1980s, and has grown much worse since then according to friends who are teachers today in CA.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          1. It’s easy for old people to slam schools for being overstaffed because they don’t have kids in them anymore, and because they don’t know how their own schools were staffed back in the day because they were just kids at the time and didn’t see what was going on beyond the classrooms.

          2. Clearly, you have no idea what staffing was at your high school.

          Yes, my high school (Tulsa) had “ONE principal,” but it also had assistant principals (one was also my track coach), the principal’s office was full of people, including secretaries that typed stuff and answered the phone and dealt with parents. There was the counselor’s office, and it had several counselors, including the one I went to. There was staff in the cafeteria and kitchen. There was staff in the library. There was staff to take care of the grounds and keep everything clean, including the classrooms, the toilets on every floor, the stadium (watering and mowing the turf regularly, keeping the track oval groomed), the basketball arena, weight room, wresting room, two locker rooms in two different buildings (main athletic building and the pool), each with toilets and showers that had to be cleaned, etc. It’s just nuts to think that “ONE janitor” can keep a school with 2,200 students clean. As a student, you didn’t see the cleaning staff because they didn’t clean when the kids were at school. They cleaned afterwards. I saw the cleaning staff because I stayed for after-school track practice and swimming practice.

          3. Look up your local school district, they will break it out for you. So you don’t have to make up stuff.

          For example, San Francisco Unified:

          49,2004 students
          2,547 full-time class-room teachers (full-time equivalent, so two part-time teachers = 1 FTE teacher)
          769 instructional aids
          70 instructors, coordinators
          90 Guidance Counselors
          43 Librarians/Media Specialists
          51 District Administrators
          21 District Administrative Support
          167 School Administrators
          164 School Administrative Support
          803 Other Support Services (cleaning, cafeterias, etc.)

        • D says:

          As a 20 year veteran teacher in CA, I can assure you there will be no salary growth in public education for several years. With a 68 billion dollar budget deficit, Newsom is going to cut education funding down to the minimum allocated by law. That means hiring and salary freezes and layoffs coming to a district near you. Especially the districts that went on a spending bender during Covid.

        • Apple says:

          In the 1960’s, I bet schools didn’t need armed security guards.

        • grant says:

          “as $2000 per month is entry level for shelter in California.”

          That’s complete nonsense. There’s literally hundreds of housing listings on craigslist in Los Angeles for <= $1000/mo.

          Apartments.com shows a handful of shoe boxes in S.F. for <= $1000/mo

          I won't even bother looking up roommate-wanted ads, or listings in small towns, since we all know those will be even cheaper. and your options will only explode in the $1000 – $1999 price range.

          $2000/mo is only "entry level" if you want a moderately-nice apartment all to yourself in a decent area of a big city.

          The rest of the universe considers "entry level" 1 or more of:
          – get a smaller, more run-down place
          – get roommates
          – live in a cheaper, dirtier part of the city
          – live in a cheaper, rural area

      • Leo says:

        Wallstreet v1:
        A bad job report is a good thing because Fed is ready to Pivot.

        Wallstreet v2:
        A good job report is a good thing because economy is doing great and Fed has already committed to Pivot

        • US Feral Reserve says:

          Yep, they find anyway they can to spin it to help the casino.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          US Feral Reserve,

          Can you help me out? Can you change your screen name to something else for a few days. Your comments are getting flagged as spam before they even get to me, it’s nothing I can control. Just try it for the next days. This solved the problem with a few other commenters here. Thanks.

    • J. Pow says:

      Yeah, the economy is doing great. Its time to thank me again.

      Only my QT can bring enough liquidity and speculation that worthless bitcon and cryptos can rally 50%.

      If we don’t print 15% of our GDP, the economy certainly will not fall of a cliff. Those stupid politicians are deficit spending without any reason.

      • JimL says:

        Deliberately misrepresenting what Jerome Powell is saying and thinking is only good for a smile once or twice. After that it is stupid.

        Of course I am assuming it is intentional that you are misrepresenting. Maybe you truly do not understand it and you are being serious (but incorrect). If so, I apologize.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          “J. Pow” is a satirical account. Like “The Onion” is a satirical publication. It’s a form of satire, which is a form of humor.

      • Hans says:

        Worthless Bitcoin? Bought at 3k back in the day and again at 15.6k.
        Now it’s at 42-45k. Weird description of worthless. People just hate on it because they can’t kill it. If you can’t kill it, join it!

        Bitcoin will be at 100k easily this cycle.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          This is the perfect definition why bitcoin is nothing but a gambling token. Well said. The gamble has worked because everyone who has some has been pulling in the same direction and has been promoting the dickens out of it, at every occasion, just like you, from the Thanksgiving family gathering to comments on the internet. As long as everyone understands that, I’m fine with it. Nothing wrong with gambling.

    • sufferinsucatash says:

      Not if their bills already went up and they are struggling. Employers are slow to raise wages for the people that need it. I’m sure the inflation for these wage gains was already spent. These consumers will prob use the gains to pay the debt they borrowed to pay their higher bills from 2020 thru 2023.

      Everyone always fears the wage growth, macroeconomically “it’s complicated” just like the social saying, meaning: help these struggling folks out.

  2. Greg Nikolic says:

    The “vast and diversified” U.S. economy has a built-in buffer which allows it to withstand “shocks,” as Wolf puts it.

    That buffer is the accumulated store of wealth. Floating around in the economy are hundreds of billions of dollars of readily accessible money. As a buffer, this money supply is second to none. It cushions the situation when cash flow dries up, provides security of mind, and enables aggressive entrepreneurs to make moves, such as buying property, when times allow for it.

    • TrBond says:

      I think the real buffer is the enormous government spending, now ongoing at or near 10% of GDP with no sign of retreating .
      That is unsustainable

      • TrBond says:

        So assuming that enormous government spending beyond its means is forced to shrink , this “resilient economy “ will weaken, perhaps sharply.
        What will cause the Government to stop splurging?
        Probably Bond market having to deal with much higher debt issuance ( t bonds and notes, not the t bills Yellen has been issuing )
        Amidst the realization that Inflation is not tamed

      • Kent says:

        It is sustainable as long as the economy can grow enough to absorb it.

        • MM says:

          And as long as there is enough demand for treasuries to keep yields from blowing out.

          But if the bond market revolts and there is not enough demand for UST debt, austerity is right around the corner.

      • Glen says:

        Assuming what you say is true then what specific areas would you cut and by how much? Deficits are also created by lack of revenue such as significant tax cuts. Does that factor into the equation? Consideration should be given to the things that aren’t being funded that should and of course the political viability of recommendations.

      • eg says:

        I’m not so convinced that it’s as unsustainable as you think, TrBond — which is not the same thing as saying that it isn’t inflationary, which it clearly is.

  3. Wes says:

    That’s just it, Wall Street bets trying to (read financial media) move the markets for their own advantage. We’ll have to wait and see just how independent the Fed really is.

    • Natron says:

      The real test is if somehow citizens see fit to elect a ‘genius at everything’ who will surely beat JPow up about dropping rates again and see if he withstands that pressure this time.

    • Natron says:

      Assuming he hasn’t already dt economic conditions of course…

    • sufferinsucatash says:

      Wallstreetbets on Reddit are morons.

      But entertaining morons, lol

    • Matt B says:

      At this point however, the posts on WallStreetBets and the headlines on Bloomberg are virtually indistinguishable. Interesting times. I wonder if the future editors of the MSM will look back on this era like the New York Times editors look back on Iraq.

  4. GuessWhat says:

    Buoyant job market
    + $1.7T deficit spending
    + high property / sales tax

    I absolutely don’t see the Fed cutting rates in the first 1/2 of the year, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see overall CPI turn north by March.

    The election year Fed pivot very well may not come to pass. Rather, we may be looking at possibly 1 to 2 more rate increases before it’s all truly said and done.

    • Greg Nikolic says:

      The $1.7T deficit spending will only moderate a recession if it goes into the pockets of the middle class, not the wealthy who own the treasuries.

      • JeffD says:

        Everything eventually ends up in the pockets of the wealthy. It’s one of the few certainties in life.

        • Glen says:

          Wait, so trickle down economics isn’t a thing?

        • sufferinsucatash says:

          IKR, all of us who comment may own 1 house, maybe 2.

          The rich can own 100-200 or more.

          They’re like 100-200 Us’s. Weird huh?

      • GuessWhat says:

        $1.7T in deficit spending is keeping the labor market buoyant by supporting job creating. Granted, not all of this money is creating jobs, but without it, we’d definitely be in a recession. Our economy has quickly moved to a model that requires QE / deficit spending. The only question that matters is how much longer can this go on?

        • MM says:

          “how much longer can this go on?”

          As long as there is demand for treasuries and yields don’t go too high.

    • spencer says:

      Yeah, that’s what my data shows. Cuts come in the 2nd half.

    • MM says:

      100 % agree.

      Maybe even no rate cuts all year.

  5. Swamp Creature says:

    A lot of people are now working two jobs sometimes three jobs to help pay the bills, pay for kids college, and put food on the table. I was one of those people. Worked my government job, had a private business, and took off every Friday to help Ms Swamp with her Appraisal business. Three jobs. This phenomenon may not be all that unusual, and may not be captured by the jobs report that came out today. I wonder what the BLS figure would look like if these jobs were accounted for.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      1. The household data (second chart) counts workers not jobs. So someone with 3 jobs still counts as 1 worker.

      2. Multiple jobholders in proportion to all workers (household survey data):

      • Swamp Creature says:

        The trouble with the household data used in these graphs is they use the word “multiple jobholders” which implies 2 jobs. What about those who have 3 jobs. This is not so unusual anymore. This would change the percentage of total employment.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          RE-read my first point:

          1. The household data (second chart) counts workers not jobs. So someone with 3 jobs still counts as 1 worker.

        • Swamp Creature says:

          I see Wolf’s point, I was only wondering if those that do the survey even ask the question whether the person is working 2 or three jobs. They may only ask if the person is working 2 jobs. Also, a lot of these second and third jobs are “off the books”. And what was going on back in 1996/1997 to have a spike in people working multiple jobs? I thought the economy was great back then. People usually take multiple jobs because they can’t make ends meet, which is sort of what is going on now.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          That’s not how the surveys go. The survey asks lots of specifics about each job that you have, among many other questions. I went through one of those surveys a while back. It’s online, you go through page after page of questions, and a certain answer triggers a page with follow-up questions, and it takes about 30 minutes to complete. It’s a hassle. But it’s thorough.

          The surveys are handled by the Census Bureau. The way it starts is you get snail-mail telling you that your address has been randomly selected for this survey, and it gives you a login for the website, and it tells you that you’re required to complete the survey (not sure if they throw people into the hoosegow for refusing to comply). If you don’t have access to the internet, you call x number. The method is an effort to keep the random selection intact.

    • sufferinsucatash says:

      That’s called hustle.

      Say your endeavors earned you 2 incomes then.

      Now a single mother has to use the same amount of Energy/Time you did to earn half of what you did.

      It’s not the same ballgame, you played 9 innings, she’s playing 18. ⚾️

      • Wolf Richter says:

        There are plenty of single mothers who make $100k, 200k, and more. They’re working at Google, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, etc. Being a single mother doesn’t mean low income.

        • HowNow says:

          Back in 2021: median family income of married-couple families with children was about $101,560 in 2021, whereas their single-father counterparts had median total family income of $50,942 and single-mother counterparts had just $32,586 (U.S. Census Bureau 2021).

        • Wolf Richter says:

          So half of them make over $32k. including the figures I mentioned.

  6. Rocco says:

    American’s deserve their wage growth after decades of real wage stagnation thanks to offshoring

    Here in Australia, if there’s ever a risk of wage growth, the government imports hundreds of thousands of working age people to make sure that wages can’t rise. We’ve had 15 years of no per capita growth, inflation in asset prices and deflation in wages.

    • shangtr0n says:

      That sounds like a cocktail for a lot of [understandable] populist rage.

    • ChS says:

      It’s happening in the US too. Only it’s millions, illegally.

      • JimL says:

        Tell me you regularly watch Fox News without directly telling me you watch Fox News.

        You win.

        You need to do better.

        • Apple says:


        • ChS says:

          What are you talking about? That wasn’t a political statement, it was a factual one. Eventually, the millions of working aged immigrants will be competing for jobs and putting downward pressure on wages.

          Allowing it all to happen without control and consideration of lower wage working US citizens is cynical and amoral.

          You need to get out of your partisan echo chamber. Not all issues are red team/ blue team.

        • sufferinsucatash says:

          And the crazy thing is they think they are stating facts.

          It’s fiction if it comes from Fox News.

          Cult fiction

      • grant says:

        Los Angeles probably has any many illegal immigrants as any other city, and yet, every 2nd fast-food restaurant has a sign in the window promising *entry-level* wages of $18/hr+

        So, please explain how all these illegals are responsible for teenagers getting paid nearly 3x the minimum federal wage? Do you think dishwashers were making more than $18/hr 10-20 years ago?

        • ChS says:

          It appears you were responding to me, but I don’t know why. I also don’t understand your question because I don’t think anyone suggested the recent massive influx of immigrants caused wages for teenagers to increase.

        • grant says:

          You implied there’s “wage stagnation” in the USA because of “millions of imported illegals”

          I asked you to explain how the “imported illegals” in Los Angeles are “stagnating the wages” in fast food restaurants which are advertising $18/hr for entry level.

          Is it possible you’re just completely wrong, and that wages are not *REALLY* stagnating… at least in Los Angeles…. despite the massive number of illegals in the city?

        • Swamp Creature says:

          My first job was working as a dishwasher on the belt at Horn & Hardart on Long Island, in Roosevelt Field. The belt was where the dirty dishes were placed before putting them into the washing machine. I made $1.25/hour before taxes. After 8 hours there you felt like you just emerged from a sewer. I got fired over Easter weekend because I took off to go surfing.

        • ChS says:


          Apologies if I wasn’t clear. I believe the massive and rapid influx of millions of immigrants will eventually put downward pressure on wages for lower skill positions. Most of those immigrants have not yet been approved to work, so I don’t think it has much of an affect on current wages. I think Wolf has done a nice job demonstrating how supply/demand issues in employment have driven wages upward. Part of the issue at hand is the volume of immigration in such a short period of time is unprecedented. The illegality of the whole thing suggests to me it is intentional.

          I could be wrong, but common sense and basic mathematics would suggest otherwise.

      • HowNow says:

        There’s no commentary about the giant subsidy for agriculture and livestock industries who use immigrants to fill jobs American citizens (aside from illegal hiring of minors) won’t do. The biggest benefactors of illegal immigration are large agri-related industries.
        The “bracero program” of years past brought farm workers in to harvest crops, and bussed them back and forth, seasonally. It was shut down because it was expensive, compared to hiring illegals. So, until Congress actually does something about it, the wealthy and politically powerful will keep illegal immigration flowing. It’s now deep into construction hiring.
        Both parties are beholden to the industries that benefit from hiring illegals.

    • brad says:

      Apparently you have not heard of ‘trickle down’ which American labor has dealt with since Reagan.

      • kramartini says:

        Recent wage growth seems more of a cascade than a trickle…

      • ChS says:

        The US has the highest gross household disposable income per capita in OECD countries. Higher than the next closest, Luxembourg, by 10%.

        • HowNow says:

          The statistic that you need to pay attention to is the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the top 1%. Yes there’s trickle down. But up at the top, it’s a firehose blasting money and assets to the wealthiest. This phenom – the growing disparity of income to the wealthy – started in earnest in the 1980s, during the Reagan admin. And it’s not as though the wealthiest didn’t have the vast majority of wealth before the ’80s…
          But go ahead, bitch about the high income earned by the little people.

        • ChS says:


          “The statistic that you need to pay attention to is the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the top 1%”

          Why is that, by itself, an issue? Certainly it could be, but if the people of the US are the richest in the world, why does it matter if the wealthy people in the US are proportionally even richer?

          “But go ahead, bitch about the high income earned by the little people.”

          Please explain how I was doing that. I simply pointed out a factual statistic. Actually, I celebrate “the high income earned by the little people”.

        • eg says:

          It’s an issue, ChS, because plutocracy is corrosive of democracy.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          ChS – just how tall are you, anyway?

          may we all find a better day.

        • ChS says:


          Fair point, thanks.

          The comment I was responding to seemed more concerned with economics than politics, but I get what you are saying.

        • ChS says:


          6’02”, but I’m married. In case that’s why you are asking.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          ChS – was wondering more about your definition of ‘little people’ and where they fit in the grand scheme of things…

          may we all find a better day.

        • ChS says:


          The “little people” term is HowNow’s, not mine, so I won’t speak for him.

          For what it is worth, I am far more concerned about the bottom 50% of wage earners having opportunities to make a decent living and having social mobility than I am concerned about how much the top 1% make.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          ChS – thanks for clearing that up. Sounds like the discussion here should be more akin to the one of the nature of our domestic wealth disparity. Are we at the point where that djinn has truly escaped the bottle? (…a conundrum in telling a people they are ‘rich’ compared to the rest of the world, though true, won’t be acknowledged as it (‘Muricans, anyway) overwhelmingly view it through their domestic lens, especially as you point out, the lower 50%). Best to you.

          may we all find a better day.

        • grant says:

          Accumulation of wealth into the hands of 1% is unsustainable. History has shown us that at some point, the majority of society who’s doing all the labour for meagre rewards will rebel against the minority enjoying most of the rewards with absolutely no parity in labour or contribution.

          Americans are rather tolerant of these disparities: they’re satisfied to see self-made billionaires enjoying the benefits of their hard work, acumen, and luck.

          But what about their children inheriting 10s of billions or 100s of billions, making no contibuting to society, and rent-collecting many more billions out of the bargain?

          At some point, the unfairness leads to widespread discontent. Even if you’re living a nice middle-class life in the USA, something most of the world dreams about, you still wonder why you and your spouse have to grind 50-hour weeks but still can’t afford to put your kids through college.

        • ChS says:

          Well we probably all agree that reforms are needed. Estate taxes may be a good starting point.

          That said, while acknowledging correlation is NOT causation, lets say you could prove that trickle down economics is actually the reason the average US citizen is significantly more wealthy than those in every other country in the world. Would that not be good thing? Is that not more of an educational issue than a structural one?

          I’m concerned the class warfare junk I’ve been seeing lately will be to detriment of all of us. Personally, I will not be happier with a lower standard of living in exchange only for taking the 1% down a few notches.

        • Matt B says:

          There’s a lot of research saying that extreme inequality destabilizes societies in a variety of ways. It’s even been argued by a few that the US has become an oligarchy. For example there’s a book by Winters with that name which chronicles a variety of oligarchies and finds that basically none of them escape their situation without either having a revolution or losing a major war. He argues that the US is such a country and by his index we’ve achieved the most extreme wealth inequality in history, even exceeding Rome.

          There’s another line of argument that from an ecological standpoint highly unequal societies are more prone to destabilizing their environment due to the insulting effect of wealth on the ones doing most of the consumption (the most thorough example so far is probably the “HANDY” model).

  7. Phoneix_Ikki says:

    So does this mean long term bond yield will rise again after falling recently? Cam we expected 7 or 8% 30yrs fixed mortgage to make a comeback soon since employment data is still looking good so it perhaps took some sail out of the stock market betting on 6 rate cuts this years? Or not…

  8. CCCB says:

    So if there is no evidence of employment and thus wage inflation, slowing down substantially, the fed will wait longer to lower rates or lower them less or maybe even raise them if need be.

    This is exactly what they said at the December meeting and I believe them.

    So far, believing the fed’s words and positioning yourself on the same side as their well telegraphed policy, has been a winning strategy.

    In my case, that means no more buying any kind of assets at current high prices and preparing for the eventual next portion of the economic cycle, which is the down portion.

    I am optimistic in the long run, but happy to take some of the house’s chips off the table and cash them in.

    • Thomas Curtis says:


      Yes, not fighting the Fed is always rule number one. If you fight the fed you are going to win big or lose big and most of the time it will be lose big.

      You said. “In my case, that means no more buying any kind of assets at current high prices and preparing for the eventual next portion of the economic cycle, which is the down portion.” —-

      For me the ‘not fighting the Fed’ last year meant starting to buy stocks when the Fed started pausing around last June. It obviously worked well.

      Now, I am almost fully in and holding.I lost this last week but I think that is a reaction to the big Fall rally and the rebalancing and broadening of the market.

      I think the Fed will be in a holding pattern because the economy and jobs appear to be humming along.

      Inflation will be the next clue as to whether the Fed will hold. I doubt inflation has risen enough to cause a hike. I certainly don’t expect a cut after these job numbers.

      As always whenever jobless claims jump big (20+% over the preceding 3 month average) it is time to hedge/short but I am not expecting that any time soon.

      Right now, the market is digesting the big Fall-Christmas rally and we will be up and down and around for a while.

      • Jon says:

        The asset market is firmly detached from the reality.
        It can maintain these absurd valuations only with zirp and qe.

        I am all out as of now for fy 2024.
        I was all in 2023.

        I think this earning seasons may be pretty bad for stocks.

        Right now I am in bills and mmf.

        • Glen says:

          Admittedly I could do the same but the tax implications are way too high. In addition to paying capital gains at normal rates, I would also be going up tax brackets. I mostly position in and out to be tax efficient, although I scaled back my equity positions slightly but still diversified as retirement of some sort within 5 years hopefully at age 62 or earlier. That would likely mean finding a new state or country to live in.

    • Z33 says:

      I suppose it depends how you look at the prices…nominal or real terms? I am in the camp that thinks we have increasing inflation later this year and into 2025 given insane government spending among other issues. I think assets in nominal terms will hold up, but not in real terms. Just think about a short 4 years ago from today people thought 3,300 was insane in the S&P. Now that would seem a crazy low for most…even 4,300 may seem low. I just don’t see asset prices going down much in nominal figures. Wages up, PCE/CPI stuff up, asset prices up, debt levels up all…all up with currency devaluation.

  9. MarMar says:

    Can you give some support (with sources) for this opinion? Have job reports been unusually inaccurate under this administration?

  10. Glen says:

    I think you are confused. Joseph Goebel currently works at college of New Jersey in humanities and social sciences department although impossible to determine if really working two jobs.

  11. Harry says:

    Have we not seen a shift in liquidity injection into the economy from the FED to the government?
    The challenge with the FED printing money was that the fresh money was going to the banks and was driving asset prices. When the government spends the money the money goes to Main Street and drives employment and company profits. The backdrop is the amount of debt and its related interests.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      The government does NOT inject liquidity. It removes cash from the economy via taxation and from financial markets via borrowing, and it spreads this money directly in the economy.

      • Cody says:

        While I would agree that the government doesn’t inject liquidity, I’m not sure that “removes cash from financial markets vis borrowing” is true.

        My personal reaction to US treasury bills in a broker’s account is very very similar a FDIC insured bank saving account. There are no fees to move the money back to a checking account, a similar number of online button clicks, a similar delay to transfer to a checking account, and the asset valuations on bills are about as secure as an FDIC-insured savings account, or possibly short term FDIC insured CDs. For all intents and purposes, the t-bill “is” money, and I tend to react to it the same way as if it’s in a savings account.

        If a t-bill is equal to money, then it’s liquidity, at least to me the retail investor? Maybe I’m wrong, but can I be the only one that’s reacting to t-bills like this?

        • Wolf Richter says:

          However it may look like to you as a retail investor, T-bills are short-term debt instruments by which you/investors give their cash to the government (it “removes” liquidity from you and from the financial markets because now you cannot buy stocks with it) and the governments then spreads this cash around in the economy or it refinances maturing debts.

          The “removes” happens at the auction when someone, either you or your broker, buys the T-bills. When the T-bill is traded later, such as the broker selling it to you, has no impact on liquidity.

  12. Marcus says:

    Wolf. Curious, do you have data/graph on the revised job numbers? The month prior was decreased around 30% and nobody is talking about it. Wonder what the revised vs reported looks like.

  13. Jackson Y says:

    If the job market continues chugging along at this strength (a big if), are rate cuts really “needed” this year? It just feels like wasting ammunition to me.

    1) We’re likely to see some 2.x% TTM (trailing 12 month) inflation prints in both CPI & PCE this spring. Part of this is due to favorable comps (high readings in Q1 2023) that will soon fall out of the 1-year window. But as long as unemployment remains in the 3’s, labor strikes will continue, and I don’t see deflation or sustained sub-2% inflation ever being a probable risk.

    2) We’re now over a year into 4%+ federal funds rates for the “long and variable” policy lags to take effect. Given this, is it really credible to argue that the delayed effects of the additional 1-1.25% of rate increases in H1 2023 are the catalyst that pushes the economy over the edge? Doubtful.

    • JeffD says:

      It would be a dereliction of duty for the Fed to cut rates with this kind of job and wage growth, on top of a yoy core services inflation that is 2x above the target rate they have promised to reach for the last year and a half. Services account for about $13 trillion of annual spending.

      • Yort says:

        If FFR stays the same while inflation continues to fall, then real interest rates are actually rising. Thus the tightening continues almost daily. Thus to keep more neutral and allow the delayed effects of tightening to filter through the economy slower to keep chaos from happening, the Fed is holding rates steady. That said, such works in reverse, so if inflation takes back off, then the FFR needs to be increased, which is what the Fed has stated repeatedly.

        Personally I think the 10 day Fed flop from no rate reduction talk to rate reductions for 2024 was more about the rather nasty data deeper within the economic Fed data flows versus political medaling. Perhaps some front loading of rates, yet did it matter, as both parties want them lower and thus it was inevitable sooner than later anyway.

        And unlike Yellen who ignorantly stated today that soft landing is occurring and somehow likely to continue, the Fed is wisely keeping rates steady with a decrease in rates most likely in May-July, most likely 1% or less for 2024. Yet if unemployment turns above 4%, then we get the 1-2% reduction dream scenario of the heavily leveraged Wall Street players who are attempting to survive “higher for longer”.

        I think the Fed is doing OK for the conditions that both politicians and voters have placed upon the economy and society over the last few decades. I lay blame on the Fed somewhat, as an enabler, but we are all part of of the problem.

        I don’t have a clue on how to change human nature so instead I play the capitalism game to the best of my ability. Sure capitalism isn’t perfect by any means, yet the alternative is most likely worse as humans will do anything to survive and thrive and compete with each other, and capitalism allows such basic human instincts within rule sets that attempt to keep us from clubbing each other to reach the top of our financially hording via human instinctual hedonic treadmills that are more DNA driven than by individual choice.

        • Jackson Y says:

          The Federal Reserve did a surprisingly good job in 2022-23. No complaints there.

          I do somewhat question the “lower inflation + steady rates = more tightening” point of view shared by most FOMC members, though. The average American consumer is barely economically literate, let alone able to compute “real interest rates,” when taking on debt. It seems like the economy has gotten accustomed to nominal interest rates being where they are right now.

        • John H. says:


          Good commentary.

          When you say: “I play the capitalism game to the best of my ability,” it made me wonder:

          How does a central authority (quasi-governmental organization owned by banks but run by Washington and academic technocrats) manipulating interest rates and bond prices qualify as “capitalism?”

          But, as you indirectly say: what is, is. Deal with it…it’s the system. I think that’s good advice, as far as personal investment decisions go.

          But the future of the money and banking system seems precarious. Perhaps one day we figure out how to limit the ever growing size, scope and complexity of the central bank. If not — and if the Fed continues to enable the debt explosion — we seem destined to once again experience a Jacksonian backlash against “the bank.” (With Wolfstreet commenter sentiment indicating some measure of resentment and rage…)


        • Glen says:

          I would disagree with the capitalism comment. As a system it reinforces the ‘human nature’ argument that allows those in control to extract surplus value from labor and give to the wealthy. Some capitalist countries ensure that more of this extracted surplus value flows back to society so they are not equal. Human nature, besides survival instincts also includes community, empathy, intelligence, and many other positive characteristics. In a country like the US, with all of our wealth, could create a more equitable system given we have a fully representative government who responds in line with the needs of the people, not with the political elite and those that own them.

        • John H. says:

          God bless your optimism and faith in the softer characteristics of human nature.

          Don’t forget the less charming instincts of all humans, especially acquisitiveness and pugnacity. When these ancient traits crop up in a collectivist society (and they alway do), equality seems to lose out, AND productivity per capita craters.

          Read Will and Ariel Durant’s short “Lessons of History” for a sober exploration of man as he is (and woman, of course!)


        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          John H. – would add Hofer’s ‘The True Believer’ to that reading list (in an effort to expand this Durantian context of history, written by some of its economic victors…).

          (…sorry, am a bit chilled by, perhaps incorrectly, the inference that the human struggle for equality is futile, and that the gains and promise of the Enlightenment are, ultimately, a dead end…).

          may we all find a better day.

        • John H. says:

          91B20 1stCAV (AUS)-

          Love your comments and humor.

          Didn’t mean to sound so glum and callouss.

          Just trying to point out that a shift to a collectivist blueprint has its own set of problems that defeat its motive of equality, as conveyed by Yort. IMHO.

          Clearly I have biases, as does Glen.
          Capitalism and collectivism both have worts inherent in humans as imperfect beings. The fact that people are streaming into the world’s pre-eminent capitalist model country, but not the world’s pre-eminent collectivist model country tells a strong story that resonates hope, as it did in my Grandpa’s day (immigrated to US 1896 at age 13, with $12).


        • Yort says:

          John H. – “Perhaps one day we figure out how to limit the ever growing size, scope and complexity of the central bank.”

          I find this statement intriguing, and would substitute “the central bank” with “life in America”.

          I wonder if it is ever possible to truly retire in America due to the self inflicted complexity we all deal with on a daily basis. Hideously complex economy, govt, corporate structure, judicial system, tax system, healthcare system, energy system, food system, transportation system, etc. With the advent of internet and thus everything connected in real time, “life admin” has taken a sharp turn from basics such as food, shelter, and energy into dozens of new “basic” requirements to exist in America. It is part of the “lifestyle inflation” equation that gets very little media attention, as Wolf has described per vehicle costs (profits and complexities…think DUI systems that will be added to all autos in the next year or two that could cost thousands). Or for example try to exist in America without a smart phone that requires monthly payments and constant upgrades, etc.

          I believe we are nearing a “Peak Complexity”, yet how it resolves is anyone’s guess. Yet placing faith in A.I., which will be logical to a fault to deal with the complexities, that probably won’t be the dream humanity wishes.

          For example, it might propose logical things such as instantly outlawing America’s largest irrigated crop by acreage, “Lawns”. Very logical and wise, not sure humanity will go along with such drastic ideals and changes as one thing we are great at is continuing traditions handed down through generations without understanding why or where such traditions derived.

          Just the tip of the iceberg to how A.I. might resolve the hideously complex everything of modern society. Yet personally think today’s moment is a false dawn for A.I., and will be more concerned in 10-15 years. I suspect someday we will miss the old flawed “Capitalism” if we allow A.I. to become a few billion times smarter than all 7-8 billion humans combined, which will be possible in the next few years, especially if theoretical quantum computing becomes economically feasible.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          John H. – sounds like our granddads may have shared a queue at Ellis Island. Hope is, indeed, where one finds it. Or, as in the late Mort Sahl’s nuanced view:

          “…the U.S. is the worst country in the world. AFTER all the rest of them…”.


          may we all find a better day.

        • HowNow says:

          “Competition is the law of the jungle; cooperation is the law of civilization.” Forgot whose quote that is…

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          How – well recalled. My concern is that the long-term ability to truly cooperate, like any important and difficult skill, seriously suffers, and perhaps vanishes, from lack of practice when that practice doesn’t appear to be generally embraced or fashionable…

          may we all find a better day.

      • Pea Sea says:

        When has that ever stopped them from coddling markets?

  14. Gary says:

    The wage-price spiral is exactly what the misleading (transitory) Federal Reserve intended from the very beginning. The result was stated by Larry Summers (former Treasury Secretary) at the beginning and now apparent in 20-20 hindsight for all to see.
    Now the current events issue is whether the Federal Reserve’s interest rate is really designed and will stop inflation; this recent data says no to both issues. It’s time to stop giving the Federal Reserve the benefit of the doubt, if anyone still does.

    • BigAl says:

      When all is said & done and I think we’re going to find that the moderation in inflation we experienced in 2023 was down to a combination of:

      1) A drop in hydrocarbon prices stemming from a weak-ish recovery in China and the Shale Patch outproducing all expectations

      2) Depletion of Pandemic “Savings” (which were just Transfer Payments)

      At this point I’m starting to worry that continued higher interest rates will do more to kill productive investment in the “real economy” than they will do to curb demand. We haven’t seen much in the way of “Buyer’s Strikes”, have we?

      • Wolf Richter says:


        your “2) Depletion of Pandemic “Savings” (which were just Transfer Payments)” is a myth. Americans have many trillions of dollars in money market funds, CDs, savings accounts, T-bills, etc. and those swelled up a lot, and continue to swell up, as Americans are making more than they’re spending (savings rate in the 3% to 4% range).

        Look at the charts of CDs, money market funds, etc.:

        • Soren says:

          the savings rate is close to historical lows and Americans are borrowing at a higher rate than what they are saving.

          For comparison Germany’s savings rate is 11% and China’s is at outstanding 36%

        • Wolf Richter says:

          1. As long as the savings rate is above 0%, Americans are making more than they’re spending, and thus they’re adding to their huge wealth.

          2. Savings rate is NOT “near historic lows.” It’s 4.1%, that’s a little lower than in the three or so years before the pandemic, but higher than in the years before the financial crisis. Sure, it’s lower than in some other countries, but so what?

          Here is the debt burden of US consumers in relationship to their disposable income (income minus income taxes and social insurance):

  15. Marcosa says:

    One quarter of those new jobs were government jobs.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Federal: +7,000 = 3% of jobs created.

      State: +8,000 includes education (universities, colleges, etc.) and healthcare

      Local: +37,000 mostly teachers (primary, secondary), community colleges, other education, and healthcare. Most of the local government employees are in education.

      • BigAl says:

        Many of the jobs created in education are administrative jobs, now, rather than teaching jobs.

        I recently did some research in the town I live in (north of Boston, MA) and discovered:


        Ratio of public education teaching jobs to administrative jobs was 9.2:1


        Ratio was now 2.5: 1

        That’s a BIG change to begin with and keep in mind that 1982 was AFTER Proposition 2 1/2 was rolled out – which resulted in the buy-out of lots of tenured teachers.

        And my 2022 figure doesn’t even include the SEVEN consultants who are engaged full-time by the town’s public ed department. I’d be shocked if we had any consultants on the payroll in 1982.

    • JimL says:


      People who hold government jobs still take their wages and buy stuff. In fact, government employees are the type of people you want the government to give money to. They are going to spend a large portion of it on goods and services.

      None of the top 1% works as a government employee (at least substantially, I guess there is always the occasional Mnuchin). Government employees are mostly policemen, firefighters, teachers, etc.

      Without even looking, I would bet a very lot of money that there is a higher percentage of government employees in the bottom 50% of Americans than in the top 10%.

      • MM says:

        “Why not sell and realize some of your gains?None of the top 1% works as a government employee…. Government employees are mostly policemen…”

        Only if you exclude the everpresent police OT scandals, which are a thing in MA.

        At one point there were over 10 Boston PD officers who claimed so much overtime, their sallaries were higher than President Obama (this was 2014-ish).

        I think public servants should be well paid (spouce is a teacher) but there’s no denying that large gov’t bureaucracies can be inefficient and easily exploitable when it comes to disbursing funds.

        • HowNow says:

          “Gaming the system” isn’t unique to government jobs although it pisses off us taxpayers to no end. But, having worked almost all of my life for private employers, in one case, the highest paid “worker” in sales and marketing (the VP of same) was nearly daily heard snoring in his office for long periods of time.

        • MM says:

          #1 strike that first line, not sure how it got in there..

          #2 in response to HowNow:

          Sure, and at my job I sometimes see the retail staff scrolling on their phones or watching youtube while on the clock. But they’re not wasting taxpayer dollars doing that. And they’re not making six figures by claiming a bunch of OT that they didn’t actually work.

        • eg says:

          I’m not sure that there’s a lazier more hackneyed take ever than “government workers are a waste of money.” All Western countries have mixed economies because, duh, that’s what works. By definition, therefore, government employees are contributing to a system that is better than all the other ones ever tried.

      • rojogrande says:

        By definition, there are 5 times as many employees in the bottom 50% as there are in the top 10%. Therefore, without even looking, it is very safe to say a higher percentage of government workers are in the bottom 50% relative to government workers in the top 10%, so that’s not much of a bet. The outcome is almost dictated by the difference in the size of the groups.

        Are you trying to say government workers are over and underrepresented in those income groups? In other words, fewer than 10% of government workers are actually in the top 10% of all wage earners, and greater than 50% of all government workers are in the bottom 50% of all wage earners? I don’t know the answer, but that seems like a more apt comparison.

  16. AD says:

    Thank you for another great article, Wolfman.

    I read on Yahoo Finance today that 216,000 jobs were added in December 2023 versus a forecast of 175,000.

    Out of those 216,000 jobs added last December, 52,000 were government jobs and 38,000 were healthcare/social assistance jobs.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Federal gov: +7,000 = 3% of jobs created.

      State gov: +8,000 includes education (universities, colleges, etc.) and healthcare

      Local gov: +37,000 mostly teachers (primary, secondary), community colleges, other education, and healthcare. Most of the local government employees are in education.

      And yes, healthcare is huge, with 22 million employees and still some staff shortages.

      In addition:

      Construction: +17,000
      Manufacturing: +6,000
      Retail: +17,000
      Information: +14,000
      Professional & business services: +13,000
      Leisure & hospitality: +40,000
      Art & Entertainment: +6,000

      But do RTGDFA because that’s exactly the kind of month-to-month nonsense I’m lambasting.

      • AD says:

        I did read the article Wolfman.

        I just don’t recall reading within Wolfstreet blog articles the aggregates such as number of government jobs created for December 2023.

        From what I’ve read of the December 2023 jobs growth aggregates on CNBC, etc. is the 38,000 for healthcare and 21,000 for social assistance or social welfare.

        The 52000 government jobs and 21000 social welfare jobs account for 33.79% of the December 2023 jobs growth :-/

        Very Respectfully, AD

        • Wolf Richter says:

          1. About 40,000 of those “government” jobs were in education (primary, secondary, university, colleges, etc.) WHY IS THAT A PROBLEM FOR YOU????

          2. Local government jobs: +37,000. Education faced teacher shortages and colleges faces shortages, and now at the end of 2023 the jobs are finally back they’d been at the beginning of 2020:

          2. What I said in my article is that MONTH-TO-MONTH DATA IS VOLATILE AND THAT IT’S NONSENSE TO DRAW CONCLUSIONS FROM MONTH-TO-MONTH UPS AND DOWNS, THEY’RE MEANINGLESS DATA NOISE. Look at the tree month moving averages at a minimum or look at multi-year charts.

        • JimL says:


          What are you implying? Come out and say it straight out.

          I am betting your views come more from ideology and only using sources of information that feed that ideology than one’s that actually inform you.

        • TheyTookOurJerbs! says:

          Generally, people are upset by government jobs because tax dollars support them. Typically an exaggerated burden on their tax bill.

          Wolfstreet is a better place to discuss facts and not wade in muddy waters. Partisan media sites provide better places for those debates.

        • Einhal says:

          JimL, I don’t know about AD, but what I’m implying is that government is filled with lazy people who are there for the 9-5, the benefits, and the pension, and don’t care one iota about doing a good job.

          Sure, a lot of good people start out of in government, but many end up leaving when they realize they’re going to have to do their job and that of their lazy colleagues.

          Even to the extent government jobs are necessary, you don’t get growth by just borrowing money to add people to the government payroll. Government jobs, if hired surgically, facilitate private growth. They aren’t growth in and of themselves.

        • Desert Rat says:


          You are the only one I see injecting ideology into comments. Maybe you need a little self reflection before you start attacking others on this blog as you have done many times. One could say your ideology is fed to you from your biased news sources on the left. It goes both ways.

        • William Leake says:


          Uh, you might want to be careful here. It is problematic to calculate an average of three months of “data noise” in the hopes that this calculation will somehow magically provide useful information. Monthly data are not noise. They are very volatile relative to a three month moving average. I would say monthly data are difficult to interpret if you are trying to see a longer term trend. Add in revisions and they are even more difficult to use. In fact, three month moving averages are also difficult to interpret if you are looking for a long term trend.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          But random noise averages out and cancels out over time. You should know that.

          An economy doesn’t turn around in one month. You need to see the trend. You cannot see the trend from one month in noisy data.

          Three month averages are a pretty good compromise, six month averages lag too much.

          Anyway, if you’d rather pleasure yourself with the fake monthly ups and downs, and if you don’t understand that random noise averages/cancels out over time, you’re in the wrong place here.

  17. CommonCents says:

    The Avg Hourly Earnings chart is interesting. Over the past year it has popped up 3 times: January, July, and November. Is it coincidental or causal that there were Min Wage hikes in many states in January and July, and huge union wage hikes in Nov? I’m not saying it’s good or bad if those are the primary drivers, but if so, recent wage increases are driven by teenagers and union workers? Please tell me it’s just coincidence.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      1. Month-to-month ups and downs are meaningless, just data noise. You cannot draw ANY conclusions from the month to month ups and downs. That’s what my article was all about.

      2. Little to do with min wage. It’s too low and the pay increases were too small (for example, CA +3.2%). So if anything, they might held down the average hourly wages. The Average Hourly Earnings of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees (the data I use) = $29.42. Overall average hourly earnings = $34.27

      3. the people that are on minimum wage should get the biggest pay increases. but they don’t.

  18. nodecentrepublicansleft says:

    I so appreciate all your hard work, Wolf!

  19. Mike Herman trout says:

    Wolf you are a real gem

  20. Robin says:

    Wolf says plugging along just fine. Zerohedge says disaster report. Which one is it?

    Cant even believe the alternative media now

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Ever since I first came across Zero Hedge in something like 2011, it said about every employment report that it was a disaster, while jobs kept increasing at a good clip, month after month, year after year. It’s just their schtick. So after a while, I stopped reading this stuff. They do have a strong sense of humor, so it’s entertainment. And occasionally, they have some other good stuff, but most of that now seems to be behind their paywall.

      • William Leake says:

        ZeroHedge is like those tabloids we used to see at the supermarket check-out. Amusing because they are so crazy. In fact, the entire main stream financial media is about the same. Wolf is different because he is more guarded in his interpretations and more data-driven, although much of the data might be a distortion of reality, whatever that is. To his credit, he occasionally discusses major flaws in the data.

  21. longstreet says:

    I hear the job environment is so good some people even have two jobs

      • grant says:

        The last 15 years of multiple-job-holder % is lower than it was the preceding 15 years.

        Of course that won’t stop people blinded by partisanism or nostalgia from dropping vague insinuations that it’s bad today today even though it was good in the 90s & the 2000s.

        Can any of these people actually articulate what the problem here is? Nope, which is why they make these snide passive-aggressive comments without substance.

        • HowNow says:

          People, extreme to the right or the left, cannot allow truth to interfere with their beliefs, no matter how reliable the evidence. It has much to do with a false sense of self that might shatter if a belief is upended.
          It’s easier to live with a lie that has settled in than allow a truth to penetrate and bust an artery.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          How – the jewel in the lotus…

          Reprising a Rob’t A. Heinlein aphorism:

          “…self-deception is the root of all evil…”.

          may we all find a better day.

        • John H. says:

          91B20 1stCav (AUS)-

          Good One-

          Another Heinlein favorite quote of mine sort of sums up (for me) the back and forth between You, Glen, Yort and me earlier in these comments:

          Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck.”
          — Robert Heinlein


        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          John H. – mine, too. (Now, if we could only track down ol’ Lazarus and sit down with couple of beers…). -best.

          (I’ve been blabbier than usual, here, Wolf-I promise I’ll stop!).

          may we all find a better day.

  22. rpc says:

    Healthcare professional here in flyover land. From my various contacts and personal experience, the labor shortage in healthcare is only worsening. This year will see some big turmoil imho. I suspect many of the large corporate and ‘academic’ corporate hosptial systems that have been feasting on buying every hospital and group in their midst are starting to feel some indigestion as labor costs are causing widespread disruptions. Just to get a new hire in any sort of skilled role takes not only higher pay than the existing employees get but also signon bonuses etc. This obviously angers the existing staff prompting many to chase higher pay. Top it off with the fact that cms and private insurers are constantly cutting reimbursements. Also most younger grads in my specialty dont even want to work in the hospital even if it means making less money. the outlook is very very grim.

    • tom10 says:

      Could be worse….try staffing a nursing home.

    • Lili Von Schtupp says:

      Staff apathy is long overdue in healthcare. If the bleeding heart doormats and wanna be Florence Nightengales developed a spine decades ago, the industry wouldn’t have been consumed by job hopping MBAs slashing then dashing while staffing is dangerous.

      HCPs are increasingly realizing there’s no triumph of spirit and golden badge of being Most Empathic running between 14 beds on the 18th hour of what was supposed to be a single turned double shift. Daisy Awards don’t shield from liability or burnout and the brass truly. don’t. care.

      The old fashioned gaslighting techniques don’t work on the new gens. Many are dodging acute care entirely and who can blame them given the state of it. Bring back the sign on bonuses and yearly raises, and lose the damn pizza parties and maybe the hospitals will see more interested staff, but even those measures are a band aid to far deeper issues.

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        LiliVS – well said (…the issue of nominal profit-oriented business/society counting on the unlimited availability, high-skill and ‘good-heartedness’ of lower-paid staffing resources for the socialized-risk ones has been long running in our fair nation…).

        may we all find a better day.

  23. Alex says:

    A Perfect Economy. “Wage inflation” up from 4 to 4.1 percent. Every worker is a happy camper. And the big news, Janet just announced we are in a soft landing. And interest rates are at 5 to 5.5%. No need to lower rates no recession or economic slowdown. Therefore, the best investment are T-Bills that yield over 5 and are city and state tax exempt. Thanks Uncle Sam for my retirement income!

  24. Scrappy Doo says:

    Good morning Wolf, sorry for detracting from your article, but maybe I can give some of your followers a reason to be thankful- as in, thankfully we’re not in Canada’s situation right now. Now there’s a fair bit of pessimism out there (understatement, I know), consumer sentiment- not very good. Like many Americans, personally I am skeptical of some of the numbers and stats reported by statistics Canada- labor force survey, inflation rate, GDP, etc. Perhaps calculation methodologies are skewed towards the BOC and federal government’s desire to report positive numbers or at least help minimize negative results.

    So…. Canada came up empty handed in December’s job report: 100 (yes, one hundred) new jobs created. Now, the labor participation rate decreased 0.02%. Of course, all this is happening while Canada is pursuing arguably its largest aggregate population growth. For the level of job creation to keep with the level of population growth it has been noted that job creation in a month needs to average 50,000 per month.

    In the second half of 2023, Canada came nowhere close to achieving that average. The overall population in the country in 2023 increased by 1.2% (over 40 million). Well, the ranks of the unemployed increased by roughly 20% in 2023 – taking in 202,000 more workers then jobs created. It goes without saying, this is not Sustainable. Well my American neighbors, be thankful that you aren’t currently in Canada’s position.

    • Andrew P says:

      To add to this — from Feb 2020 to May 2022 the majority of Canada’s new employment was in government. (Search “Canada’s ‘roaring’ recovery is not as robust as it seems” from The Hub.) Presumably in the last 18 months that ratio has become much more unbalance.

      Wolf has posted repeatedly in these comments some variation of “these are teachers!” and “why are you upset about this?”. Ok, perhaps there is a political angle where people dislike government workers.

      But even if 100% of these government hires are great, motivated people doing productive work, the problem is that the government has different incentives than the private sector when it comes to hiring. So if your employment numbers are only positive because of them, that’s an indication that your economy is actually worse off than it appears.

      I think that’s why people are upset about government workers. It’s one thing for Wolf to say that the government is harmless/positive in the US where it’s having only a miniscule effect on the data. But in a country where there’s a major effect, it makes the job market feel like a lie.

  25. imposter says:

    Maybe the interest rate should just be left alone for a long time. Seems the economy is now adjusting to this level and not killing employment of those who want employment.

    This “period of adjustment sure doesn’t help us retired fixed incomers, but then it also seems like using interest rates for inflation outcomes, is like performing brain surgery with a chain saw.

    But then, I don’t get most of what the Fed does or says but I have to deal with the outcomes.

  26. Observer says:

    I bought six donuts at a Florida Krispy Kreme yesterday. After tax: $11.58.

    That same six donuts was under $7 with tax 3 years ago.

    I looked shocked and told the cashier that I just can’t come back at those prices. He said, I know, they are raising prices every few months.

    The minimum wage increased from $11 to $12 this year and will keep increasing $1 per year to $15.

    Concurrently: I travel a lot around the US. For those who don’t travel much, I report the amount of self-servicing at retail and fast food has exploded in the two years (it was merely rapidly increasing before).

    • Apple says:

      Self service in retail has been under way for many years now. It will continue as long as there is no pushback from customers. I do think customers are quickly learning how to take advantage of the situation.

      • BigAl says:

        Self-service in retail is actually disappearing up around Boston because it increases losses due to shoplifting.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      “…as you travel through this life, let one thing be your goal: keep your eye upon the donut, and not upon the hole…” – Nipsey Russell

      may we all find a better day.

    • grant says:

      Your cardiologist & your stressed belt owe inflation a big thanks.

    • OutWest says:

      Thank you for your donut story. I was on the edge of my seat….

    • Einhal says:

      My feelings exactly. I’ve spoken to a lot of people in very different income groups, and NOBODY outside those who had $3 million+ stock holdings feel that they’re doing better financially than pre-pandemic, REGARDLESS of what the government data shows about real wages.

      That’s the reason people are so pessimistic about the economy and the current administration.

  27. BigAl says:

    A couple quick observations from North Metro Boston

    * There’s a HUGE pivot away from full-time jobs and towards part-time/per diem jobs in healthcare

    * On the eve of the pandemic in early 2020 the Home Depots closest to me was hiring entry-level floor-walker associates at $14.50/hr – nearly 14% above the state minimum wage. In early 2024 they are now attempting to hire them at $15.50/hr – which is a scant 3.3% above the current minimum wage.

    Honestly? I think a lot of businesses are just figuring that they can operate with lower staffing levels on a permanent basis after a couple years of being chronically-understaffed.

    • MM says:

      One of my economic gauges is how full the Oak Grove T lot is when I drive by it at 10am every weekday.

      With a few exceptions it is completely full every tues-weds‐thurs, and parking has overflowed out to the adjacent on-street spots.

      • BigAl says:

        As far as I can tell, the only people who are WFH are people live in Cambridge/Somerville/Boston

        Traffic on the Zakim, Tobin, the Braintree Split, etc. all passed their 2019 thresholds by the summer of 2022.

        BTW: The Oak Grove parking lot was frequently full by 6:30 am M-F most mornings as far back as 2013 or so.

        • MM says:

          Yup. There’s a reason I aim to get into the office by 10am.

          Last fri it took me 30 mins to get off the exp’way north and onto 128 south in woburn @ 7pm.

          Recession? Not here…

    • sufferinsucatash says:

      Sorta think you are wrong about healthcare. Yes they are tightening their belts. Changing out doctors for PAs and NPs. Using a lot of bull$s..t maneuvers to look like they are making positive changes. But it’s all just robbing Peter to pay Paul while corruption robs us of quality healthcare.

      • BigAl says:

        That was actually the point I’m making. They don’t really care about quality of service, and nobody seems to be pulling their elders out of assisted living, so they are just improving their margins.

      • Mark says:

        The replacement of physicians by PA’s and NP’s that is occurring is an absolute travesty in healthcare. The healthcare conglomerates are able to receive the same billing amount, but pay the far lesser trained PA’s and NP’s less, therefore pocketing the difference for shareholders, executives, etc. Physicians are leaving healthcare in mass due to poor working conditions and patients will be the ones to suffer.

  28. Bobber says:

    The jobs are out there, but how many of those jobs will allow a hard working middle class family to buy a home or decent car at today’s prices, or retire at a reasonable retirement age, or send their kids to college? That’s the more important question.

    I think asset prices have grown much faster than good paying job opportunities and wages, and that dramatically worsens the picture for non-asset holding classes. Sure, there are exceptions at an individual level, as expected.

    The Fed should continue QT well into asset price reduction territory to correct this problem it created via QE.

  29. Gen Z says:

    Anecdotal, but here in Canada, a bunch of people got laid off at my company.

    The company utilized the services of another temporary staffing agency, and instead of the workforce being middle-aged adults, they comprise of now international students on a study permit.

    Canadian companies are really trying to find ways to cut costs. I thought that international students are allowed to work max 20 hrs a week.

    It’s sad because the laid off employees were mainly permanent residents and refugees.

    I guess that Canadian companies don’t even want to pay people minimum wage, and instead hire international students for lower expenses.

    This means I’m not buying anything related to Robo vacuums, Starbucks, Hallmark cards, Microsoft plugins, etc.

    • Glen says:

      Life must be brutal in Canada when you have to stop buying the essentials🙂

      • Gen Z says:

        The companies mentioned below are clients of my company which replaced the average Canadian worker with international students on a study permit.

        I’m boycotting Tim Hortons, and any fast food franchise which refuses to hire Canadian employees. This international student exploitation has to stop.

        • Glen says:

          I would argue all worldwide labor exploitation needs to stop but that is a much larger issue!

        • Bobber says:

          There’s a reason immigration laws are lax in Canada and the US. Businesses like it that way. They don’t want to pay the costs and taxes that come with hiring and/or training a citizen. The indirect costs of immigration (healthcare, education, shelter, etc) are largely absorbed by the public when immigrants (or any worker) is not paid a living wage.

        • Gen Z says:

          Glen, it’s not fair to compare sweatshops in emerging economies where housing prices and food costs are far cheaper, with Canada where landlords demand C$3,000 a month rent for a two-bedroom apartment from Vancouver to Halifax.

          The “capitalist” in Canada expects low wages of the underdeveloped economies, while expecting the rents of the opulent Manhattanites.

          This is where international students are exploited, because they bring in a year’s worth of expenses, and are able to pay high rents, while more and more Canadians end up on unemployment, eventually ending up trapped on welfare because they get laid off for an international student to work the job. A lose-lose situation for everyone.

        • Glen says:

          I of course don’t know your experiences but from myself living in SE Asia for 5 years teaching at a university and having children born there living within the culture(not a wealthy expat, UN overpaid useless official, or NGO eating most of the grant money) I can tell you some things are cheaper, most, such as commodities like gas, are more expensive relative to income. The sweatshops are almost always foreign owned ensuring low priced products are available at low prices for western consumers. Sure other things are cheaper such as living in a wooden shack with no electricity or running water, access to health care, or paid sick days save on money but it is so the world can have Levis, $10 Target shirts, Colombia Ski wear, Nike and so on. When I was there $60/month was common for labor but is now $200/month for sweatshop work.
          Seems that is only a concern for you know that low cost labor is impacting you or those you know. I would invite you to recognize the false narrative that developing countries are lucky otherwise they would have no jobs.
          The expression that first they came for, and I said nothing, is apt.

        • Gen Z says:

          Glen I didn’t say that developing countries should be glad for sweatshop jobs.

          I stated that in Canada, the “capitalist” expects to pay sweatshop wages, while demanding Manhattan rents.

          Developing countries don’t have Manhattan rents, with the exception of Luanda in Angola which is entirely because of oil and gas.

        • Jim says:

          Unfortunately Canadians are not interested in working hard. It is impossible to find Canadians for any minimum wage job. If you are lucky to find someone, they will quit after just one shift without any notice. More and more fast food restaurants are actually shutting down instead of dealing with all these hassles.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Jim – might you clarify the differences you perceive in motivation between ‘working hard’ and ‘working for MINIMUM’, please? (i.e., what makes YOU satisfied to work ‘hard’ at something that is paying YOU the ‘minimum’?). TANSTAAFL.

          may we all find a better day.

        • HowNow says:

          I don’t know what the current condition is in hiring for fast-food jobs, but years ago, an exec in the industry told me that the turn-over rate in fast food was 200% annually.

        • eg says:

          There’s an old saying, Jim — you get what you pay for.

        • John H. says:


          “You get what you pay for”


          If you don’t pay up (for labor), you don’t get (for more than a 6-month stint).

          I’m guessing it’s some of each: the good ones vote with their feet.

    • Scrappy Doo says:

      Sorry about the bad news GenZ. Canada has some issues – payroll taxes on employers are increasing yet again (CPP and EI); we’re definitely not a low cost country to operate in – how to stay globally competitive? We have a grotesque housing bubble that’s been a number of years in the making that needs to deflate sooner rather than later. We have a federal government that naively believes they can gather more revenue by expanding consumerism and the tax payer base (population growth) without any sort of consequences. For as much as we all want better and higher wages, for the good of the country I’d take a more modest cost of living in place of it. With the current spendaholics in power and nobody wanting to touch or even admit there’s a housing bubble (OSFI, CMHC, and federal finance department) – I think we’re stuck on this road a good while longer.

  30. BH says:

    I’m curious how it will look after Q1 of this year. There is a lot of seasonal higher through the last couple months of the year and then layoffs happen.

    If you have a few months in a row of lower numbers added to payroll with more unemployment claims each month then there may be something there.

    There’s also the new minimum wage laws mentioned going into effect. Headlines already coming out about the $20 pizza delivery guys in CA getting canned.

  31. AV8R says:

    Rate Cuts start in March.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      People still believe that, do they?

    • kramartini says:

      An out of control blaze has been brought under control, but is still burning. Time to send the Fire Dept. home!

    • MM says:

      No rate cuts all this year.

    • spencer says:

      The money stock hasn’t declined. Large time deposits represent deposits shifted from other deposit classifications. The shuffling just moves the money from accounts that the FED considers money, to accounts that the FED erroneously excludes. M2 fell from 3/1/22 to 11/1/23 by – 1095.5. Large CDs offset that decline and rose by + 832.483

  32. John says:

    When the 10 year was 5% I read Germany bought 11 billion in 10 treasuries. I have also read Germany is in a recession according to last two quarters. Inflation has spiked there also. The Fed constantly saving these banks is getting old. Looking forward to the month of March when the banks are cut off. Saving them is costing me money, knocking rates down. Higher for longer and volatile too!

    • Wolf Richter says:

      1. In March, the banks were NOT bailed out. They collapsed and shareholders and bondholders lost everything. Depositors were bailed out. Big difference.

      2. You really don’t want to see contagion in the financial system because if it takes off and spirals from bank to bank, like it did in 2007-2008, then you’ll end up with massive QE and 0% for years. That’s the worst outcome. Nip this stuff in the bud early with a few temporary measures and continue with QT and 5%+ rates sounds good to me. And that’s what happened in March. The Fed did a pretty good job in March. In the comments here, lots of people were calling it the “restart of QE” and seeing big rate cuts due to the banking crisis, some were jubilating, others were raging, while I uselessly flagellated my arms saying that those were temporary liquidity measures and that QT continued and would continue, and rates would go up further, which is what happened. While investors in those banks lose everything.

      3. BTW, Germany’s economy is not in a recession as of now, but it’s not really growing either. Q3 = -0.1%, Q2 = +0.1%, Q1 = 0%. There was a lot of inflation, and consumers got pissed off and cut back a little; when inflation was raging, consumer spending dipped by 2% from the peak in Q3 2022 to Q1 2023, and has stayed flat since then.

  33. John says:

    A 15% minimum tax on international corps would also raise costs too, along with their taxes here at home right?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Corporate taxes reduce profit margins, profits, and per share profits. Selling prices are always at the maximum that the market will bear and are not impacted by taxes. Corporate tax cuts pump up corporate profits and share prices.

      • kramartini says:

        This assumes that the cost of capital does not affect prices ever. A faulty assumption.

  34. Flea says:

    Trump tax cuts expire in 2025 ,was so good of him to lower his ans Munich in tax rates =another shyster .But he really tricked the commoners

  35. Concerned_guy says:

    Wolf – have you seen the comments of Bank of Dallas President Lorie Logan and slowing QT? This is crazy.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      The headlines were braindead bullshit. Here is what she actually said:


      Turning to the Fed’s balance sheet and policy implementation, we have reduced our securities holdings since mid-2022 at a brisk pace consistent with the principles and plans that the FOMC announced earlier that year. While securities holdings have declined by $1.3 trillion, bank reserve balances have actually risen by $350 billion dollars to around $3.5 trillion. That’s because reduced balances in the Federal Reserve’s overnight reverse repurchase agreement (ON RRP) facility have more than offset the decline in securities holdings. Increased Treasury issuance and a less uncertain interest rate path have contributed to the rapid ON RRP runoff by motivating money market funds to invest more in Treasury bills.

      Money markets and policy implementation are continuing to function smoothly. As we did in 2018 and early 2019, we are likely to see modest, temporary rate pressures as our balance sheet shrinks and our liabilities redistribute. These rate pressures can be a price signal that helps market participants redistribute liquidity to the places where it’s needed. Experience shows that these pressures tend to emerge first on dates when liquidity is unusually encumbered or is draining out of the system especially rapidly, like tax-payment dates, Treasury settlements and month-ends. And indeed, we saw small, temporary rises in the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) over the November–December and year-end turns. But on nearly all days, broad money market rates have remained well below the interest rate on reserves.

      The emergence of typical month-end pressures suggests we’re no longer in a regime where liquidity is super abundant and always in excess supply for everyone. In the aggregate, though, as rate conditions demonstrate, the financial system almost certainly still has more than ample bank reserves and more than ample liquidity overall. The most recent Senior Financial Officer Survey shows that most banks in the sample have reserves well in excess of their lowest comfortable levels and desired buffers. ON RRP balances remain around $700 billion. And the Federal Reserve’s Standing Repo Facility (SRF) provides a backstop against any unexpected pressures.

      Still, individual banks can approach scarcity before the system as a whole. In this environment, the system needs to redistribute liquidity from the institutions that happen to have it to those that need it most. The faster our balance sheet shrinks, the faster that redistribution needs to happen. I’d note that the current pace of asset runoff is around twice what it was in the first half of 2019. And while the current level of ON RRP balances provides comfort that liquidity is ample in aggregate, there will be more uncertainty about aggregate liquidity conditions as ON RRP balances approach zero.

      • John H. says:

        Thanks for including the link to Logan’s speech, Wolf! I found this quote early in her remarks noteworthy:

        “A key risk related to the topic of this panel is that a premature easing of financial conditions could allow demand to pick back up. Restrictive financial conditions have played an important role in bringing demand into line with supply and keeping inflation expectations well-anchored. Yet over the past few months, long-term yields have given back most of the tightening that we saw over the summer. We can’t count on sustaining price stability if we don’t maintain sufficiently restrictive financial conditions.”

        Amazing how the press chooses to cherry pick the comments that supports their chosen narrative and ignore other contextual comments.

        Equally interesting was her honest admission, in the prior sentence, of the inaccuracy of the Fed’s predictive abilities:

        “There are, as always, plenty of risks: geopolitical threats to supply chains, financial fragilities in sectors such as commercial real estate and just the simple possibility that our forecasts are once again wrong, as they’ve been too many times in recent years.”

  36. Jon says:

    Fed shannanigans at play..
    Dallas fed
    Logan Says Fed Should Slow Asset Runoff as Reverse Repo Dwindles

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Bullshit. That’s not what she said. It’s what the braindead manipulative Bloomberg headline said, to be eaten up and spread by those that don’t want to read what she actually said.

      Here is what she actually said:


      Turning to the Fed’s balance sheet and policy implementation, we have reduced our securities holdings since mid-2022 at a brisk pace consistent with the principles and plans that the FOMC announced earlier that year. While securities holdings have declined by $1.3 trillion, bank reserve balances have actually risen by $350 billion dollars to around $3.5 trillion. That’s because reduced balances in the Federal Reserve’s overnight reverse repurchase agreement (ON RRP) facility have more than offset the decline in securities holdings. Increased Treasury issuance and a less uncertain interest rate path have contributed to the rapid ON RRP runoff by motivating money market funds to invest more in Treasury bills.

      Money markets and policy implementation are continuing to function smoothly. As we did in 2018 and early 2019, we are likely to see modest, temporary rate pressures as our balance sheet shrinks and our liabilities redistribute. These rate pressures can be a price signal that helps market participants redistribute liquidity to the places where it’s needed. Experience shows that these pressures tend to emerge first on dates when liquidity is unusually encumbered or is draining out of the system especially rapidly, like tax-payment dates, Treasury settlements and month-ends. And indeed, we saw small, temporary rises in the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) over the November–December and year-end turns. But on nearly all days, broad money market rates have remained well below the interest rate on reserves.

      The emergence of typical month-end pressures suggests we’re no longer in a regime where liquidity is super abundant and always in excess supply for everyone. In the aggregate, though, as rate conditions demonstrate, the financial system almost certainly still has more than ample bank reserves and more than ample liquidity overall. The most recent Senior Financial Officer Survey shows that most banks in the sample have reserves well in excess of their lowest comfortable levels and desired buffers. ON RRP balances remain around $700 billion. And the Federal Reserve’s Standing Repo Facility (SRF) provides a backstop against any unexpected pressures.

      Still, individual banks can approach scarcity before the system as a whole. In this environment, the system needs to redistribute liquidity from the institutions that happen to have it to those that need it most. The faster our balance sheet shrinks, the faster that redistribution needs to happen. I’d note that the current pace of asset runoff is around twice what it was in the first half of 2019. And while the current level of ON RRP balances provides comfort that liquidity is ample in aggregate, there will be more uncertainty about aggregate liquidity conditions as ON RRP balances approach zero.

  37. Swamp Creature says:

    A big Wall Street firm just bought 264 single family homes in Vegas for 98m. The dream of home ownership will be history as this becomes more prevalent across the USA.

    I was out in the far out suburbs today and noticed NO previuosly owned homes for sale. The only home for sale were new townhomes just under construction and marketed by the builders. Realtors are out of business and dropping like flies.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Quit this BS!!!! You’re just spreading a stupid-ass headline and making up your idiotic theory based on it, without having read anything.

      That was a portfolio of RENTALS that Starwood Capital Group sold to Invitation Homes. One landlord selling another landlord part of their rentals.

      Starwood has been unloading all kinds of RE. They got into huge trouble with some of their retail and office properties.

  38. William Leake says:

    One thing I like about the markets is that they are completely amoral. They do not discriminate based on religion, political beliefs, whether you are purple or have three legs. So all this talk about capitalism and the downtrodden and the horrible 1% is just so much moralizing and has little to do with the markets. The markets do not care. Do not anthropomorphize them.

    I have noticed that the centrally planned economy, the bane of capitalists, is a major feature of our own economy. The Fed is very similar to the old communist Politburo, injecting its own feeble efforts to plan our economy. The Fed is a classic economic inefficiency. Personally, I roll with what I am given. I am happy with T-bills paying 5.25%, even if that rate is only somewhat above the fifty year average T-bill yield 1971 to 2022.

  39. RickV says:

    Last weekend on Wall Street Week, Larry Summers, former Treasury Secretary, said, concerning economic growth despite the Fed’s restrictive stance: (paraphrasing) It could be caused by two factors, 1) The neutral rate of interest has risen or 2) The economy is no longer sensitive to interest rate increases and QT at these levels. What say ye?

  40. Swamp Creature says:

    It was raining like hell yesterday and I decided to bring my car up to the loading dock. In the process I had my groceries stolen in the 1 minute it took me to go to my car and pull it up to the loading area of the grocery store. The lady had a change of heart after she saw me looking around for my grocery cart, talking to witnesses. She said her husband told her to take the groceries back and said she was sorry. Things must be tough out there. People are having trouble affording groceries.

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