The big question that analysts in the United States are asking is whether there will be a soft landing after the severe policy of the Federal Reserve (Fed) to contain inflation. One of the barometers is the labor market, which yesterday once again demonstrated its resilience despite the restrictive monetary policy. There is a slowdown, but not a major setback, and this makes the idea of a recession fade away.
In November, 199,000 jobs were created in the United States, above forecasts (180,000) and exceeding the 150,000 in October, data that the Fed will weigh at its meeting next week to maintain the pause in rates or apply another increase.
The president of the Fed, Jerome Powell, hinted that rate increases may have reached their limit, although he insisted that the beginning of the cut is not yet in sight. Although the inflation rate has fallen to 3%, it has not yet reached the 2% goal set by the Federal Reserve, and the work is not finished.
The unemployment rate, which forecasts assumed would remain stable at 3.9%, fell to 3.7%, somewhat higher than the record at the beginning of the year, but practically at the record level in several decades. The workforce has increased to 62.8% of the active population.
These numbers show that there is substance left in a labor market that has slowed down, although almost imperceptibly since, in March 2022, the US central bank began its pressure on interest rates, placing them at 5.25%. 5.50%, the highest level recorded in 22 years.
However, this is the second consecutive month in which job gains are below the 2023 average.
The increase in employment includes some 41,000 employees of the automobile industry and the actors' group, once both sectors regained normality and returned to work after long strikes, as well as other businesses that were burdened by the protests of their employees.
The average salary, a key element for inflation, rose 0.4% since last month and 4% in the annualized value. The monthly increase was also above the estimated 0.3%, but in annual terms it is in line with what was expected.
The data has generated optimism among US economists that the soft landing can be achieved. This means putting inflation in its place without a recession.
Analysts such as Sthepen Juno, from Bank of America, maintain that the trend points in the direction in which a soft landing is observed and, in turn, the labor market is approaching an increasingly better balance. This circumstance means that the number of available workers grows, while hiring needs become lighter, reducing the lack of employees and reducing salary pressure.