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Current Labor Market Dynamics Affecting Interest Rate Hikes

According to a recent report released byADP, US firms added 163,000 jobs in August, falling below the monthly average of 206,000. Compared to July, hiring from US firms plummeted by roughly 54,000 jobs. While growth remains strong across businesses, the decline in hiring is the lowest in 10 months and has hit small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) the hardest. SMBs only added 21,000 jobs in August compared to 59,000 in July.

Despite the tightening and large companies becoming more cautious in their hiring, the labor market is still hot, and productivity is on the rise to the tune of2.9%. In fact, larger firms are arguably becoming more aggressive at competing to keep current employees and hire new ones. However, overall wage growth has remained sluggish, which could influence future interest rate hikes. With trade disputes, emerging market turmoil, shifts in the housing market and the risk of a yield curve inversion, the economy seems to not be settling enough for firms to get comfortable with releasing cash and increasing overall pay to their employees. Should wages increase in the coming months, perhaps then will the market adjust to reflect an expected fourth quarter rate hike.

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