The Business Corner | Opinion

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I'd say it is a surprise, but it is becoming the norm that the jobs report far outpaces common estimates.

This time the jobs report added 303,000 new jobs vs the consensus, which was around 213k. This further lowers the chances for a May cut, and with the potential CPI report next week that does not show improvement in inflation, a June rate cut may also be pushed back to July. Average hourly earnings only increased by 0.3%. For February, the year-over-year annual inflation rate was 3.2%, which represents a slight increase from the previous month's rate of 3.1%. The core inflation rate, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, saw a slight reduction to 3.8%. Levels are expected to be similar when the inflation report comes out this week with the potential for a slight uptick in the overall inflation rate due to rising gas prices among other a few items.

Also, Fed rate cuts remain on hold for at least a couple more months, and projections continue to be for the Fed to cut rates by 75 bps to 100 bps this year. The stock markets continue their positive trends. The Dow Jones gained about 200 points month over month, closing at around 38,900. The S&P 500 reached a new record high at 5,250 and is now sitting at around 5,200. The Nasdaq, in similar fashion, is sitting at a new record high at around 16,250, which is a 250-point increase from last month. The 10-year Treasury yield remains in a general upward trend with rate cuts pushed back, moving above 4.4%, which is its highest point since last November.

The average rate for 30-year mortgages remains close to 7%, with the near-term potential of moving above it. Over the past month, oil has surpassed $80/ barrel and is currently trading at around $86/ barrel, which is about an $8 increase month over month. Near-term relief is not expected being driving season starting and summer vacations only a couple of months away. Gold prices saw another new record high of $2,350/ounce as of last Friday, as inflationary pressures remain present. The US dollar was relatively stable over the past month against the Euro, with the EUR/USD exchange rate at 1.07%, slightly reducing strength from 1.08%.


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