I am a product of the ’80’s, so when I hear the word “patience”, it’s immediately followed by melodic whistling, gentle guitar strumming, and the aroma of smouldering tobacco. Experiencing that song was the 20th century’s version of zen.
But patience is also the current buzzword at the Fed regarding the timing of interest rate hikes, particularly because their favorite measure of inflation, Personal Consumption Expenditures, is still registering at 1.9%. So close, yet still so far away from their elusive 2.0% threshold. (Hey, at least we’re not in Venezuela, I say!).
Germany and Japan are also both experiencing low inflation and continuing low interest rates (1st world problems). Add to that the concern over global trade, insurmountable budget deficits, and general political unrest, and you have a good formula for the FOMC backpedaling away from any “tightening” they had previously been considering. There will be a solid half dozen Fed Governors on the speaking circuit at various junkets today, attempting to convey their rebirthed trepidation over constricting commerce . “This is what it sounds like, when the doves cry.”
As we are all aware, it’s a three-day weekend on account of President’s Day this coming Monday. It’s a great time to celebrate all the amazing sacrifices that these men have endured to make our country what it is today. Take for example the concession to keep the federal government up and running until of the end of the fiscal year (September 30) instead of only the originally agreed upon three forthcoming weeks. Simply magnanimous. That plus Monday off is cause for celebration indeed.
Many Americans wondered if they would be getting paid for work performed during the last shutdown, and many went on unpaid leave. Some of us in the private sector have been on the edges of our seats many times this last month, wondering whether branches of government would be up and running so that we could do our own jobs. That’s affected the collective unconscious of Americans in general. Consequently, the poll numbers show that our confidence in the system and outlook of the future have both taken a hit. If we’re not careful, our cynicism may become a self fulfilling prophecy. Now if someone will kindly point out the line between sarcasm and cynical I will do my best to avoid it, at least through the weekend.
So while I may be on the edge of my seat about many things, truth be told, it’s an ergonomically designed chair in an obscure climate controlled office, not an overstuffed chair under the scrutiny that its place in the Oval Office bears. I don’t know all the pressure that our Commander in Chief has to deal with. I imagine that the balancing act takes courage, bravado, and thick skin. So in celebration of President’s Day, I take my hat off to you, Mr. President. Let’s make America great again.
Enjoy your long weekend!
For the last little while, the labor market has been very strong all across the country. Because of high demand, wages are up and unemployment is down. These conditions have been a boon to the economy in general, and have helped the stock market rebound from a horrible December. The lasted report out today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that job openings are at an all time high right now with 7.3 million available positions. Provided that there are enough employees to reach maximum productivity, this is another great sign for the job market, and should continue to cultivate vigorous expansion.