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Here’s what you need to know today…
Layoffs are rising, and it’s harder to find work.
Policymakers seem to be winning their fight against inflation.
Mortgage rates have been coming down.
The Market: ⬆️+0.4%
S&P 500: 4,567.80
1Mo: +8% | 1Yr: +12% | 5Yr: +73%
The market floated a little higher today as investors celebrated an encouraging inflation report, closing out the best month for the stock market since July 2022.
Layoffs keep rising, and it’s getting harder to find work. According to the Labor Department, initial jobless claims rose by 7,000 to 218,000 in the week ended Nov. 25. While those layoff rates are relatively low, continuing claims, the number of people receiving unemployment benefits for consecutive weeks, rose to the highest level in two years. Unemployment is still near historic lows, but we’ll find out if that’s changing in the official November jobs report next Friday.
Policymakers’ battle against inflation seems to be working. The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, the core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) index, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.2% in October. That’s a much more normal rate. Living costs overall stayed flat in October thanks to lower energy costs. While food prices increased slightly, energy prices fell by 2.6%. Overall, most things we spend money on are 3% more expensive than they were a year ago.
Mortgages have gotten a little less expensive in the past month. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported the average interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell last week to 7.4%, the lowest level in 10 weeks. While encouraging, rates are coming down from 20-year highs.
How are you feeling about the economy?
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What exactly do they mean by tight or loose?
Economists and financial analysts often refer to certain markets or policies as tight or loose, indicating whether something is restrictive to normal function.
You might hear that the labor market has been tight, referring to the demand for employees far exceeding the amount of available workers. That imbalance has restricted economic growth by not providing businesses with the resources they need and spurred inflation by making those limited resources more expensive (higher wages). As business activity slows and companies reduce their hiring plans, the demand for workers will come closer into balance with the supply.
Economists will also use temperature adjectives to qualify the scale of imbalance. A tight labor market could be too hot and need to cool or loosen.
Economic policy can also be tight or loose. Policymakers have been tightening restrictions on business activity by increasing borrowing costs. If they start to cut interest rates, they will be loosening up their restrictions.