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Strong Employment Report Makes Powell’s Job Harder to Turn Cautious

Employment remains robust for the US economy. The non-farm payroll report for December beat expectations with a 312,000 reading, way above the 184,000 forecast and the prior reading which was revised higher to 176,000. Wages are stellar, also rising to 0.4% from 0.2% and above the eyed 0.2%. The unemployment rate rose from 3.7% to 3.9% as the participation rate jumped to 63.1%.

Stocks traded slightly lower following the data release and the dollar rallied against its major trading partners.

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The stage is now set for Fed Chair Powell, who many were hoping to turn cautious at today’s American Economic Association’s Annual Meeting. It will be difficult following this strong report, but Powell should still be able to deliver cautious tone.

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