The Economy in Context: October 2019

The labor force participation rate remained at 63.2%, only 0.3 points above the 62.9% from when the current administration took office in January 2017 and 0.8 points below the 64.0% labor force participation rate when Jimmy Carter left office in January 1980. It’s simply a fact that 63.2% is not indicative of a robust economy.

There were +136,000 net jobs created in September, below the 5-year average of 159,830 net jobs created in Septembers prior and considerably below the average of 209,250 net jobs created in September during Obama’s second term. Though the strongest September for the current administration, it’s still a mediocre at best.

The numbers for July and August were revised upward in the latest report, with July seeing +7,000 additional net jobs for a total of +166,000. August was also revised upward by +38,000 net jobs to +168,000. Even after revisions, July’s net jobs number was the lowest and August’s net jobs number the second lowest of the last 5 years.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Board lowered the federal funds rate to just 1.75% to 2.00%. The last time the federal funds rate was this low was in 2008, right in the middle of the last recession. While the GDP growth rate, last at 2.0%, hasn’t dipped into negative territory yet, the economy has clearly lost a lot of momentum.

There are a lot of warning bells going off in the markets and economic data that trouble lies ahead. Inflation remains below even the Federal Reserve Board‘s modest target of 2.0%, and manufacturing and mining have been soft since August’s report. One thing is for sure, this isn’t the rapid growth economy we were sold.

Liberty is For The Win!

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