The national unemployment rate dipped to 3.5 percent in July, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, once again hitting more than 50-year lows.
It’s still peak employment as far as the eye can see. Even with the past two years’ high inflation dropping dramatically and disinflation usually correlating with higher unemployment and a recession, that simply has not occurred yet, despite all the warning signs typically associated with an economic slowdown or downturn.
“Our expectation has been we would begin to see inflation come down, largely because of supply side healing. We haven’t. We have seen some supply side healing but inflation has not really come down.”
That was Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Sept. 21, speaking to reporters following the central bank’s meeting where the Federal Funds Rate was once again increased 0.75 percent to its current range of 3 percent to 3.25 percent in a bid to combat sticky 8.3 percent consumer inflation the past year.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.5% in December, bringing the key inflation indicator’s year-over-year increase to 7%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.
The CPI soared to 7% on a year-over-year basis in December, the highest level in almost four decades, the BLS reported Wednesday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected the index would soar past 7.1% in December.
“There’s still a lot of scarcity in the economy. Consumers and businesses are in great financial shape, and they’re willing to pay up for more goods, more services and more labor,” Sarah House, director, and senior economist at Wells Fargo, told the WSJ.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged Tuesday that high inflation is indeed a serious threat to the U.S. central bank’s goal of helping to get U.S. employees back to work.
He also said the Fed will raise rates higher than initially planned if needed to slow rising prices, according to the Associated Press.
“If we have to raise interest rates more over time, we will,” Powell told the Senate Banking Committee, which is considering his nomination for a second four-year term, the wire service also reports. “High inflation is a severe threat to the achievement of maximum employment.”