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Informe de empleos de marzo, inflación PCE, confianza del consumidor: qué saber esta semana

 El informe de empleos de marzo ocupa un lugar central esta semana. La instantánea mensual del Departamento de Trabajo sobre el empleo en Estados Unidos será observada de cerca por los participantes del mercado y tendrá un peso especial a medida que los funcionarios de la Reserva Federal parezcan indicar más línea dura en los planes de alza de tasas del banco central. Mientras tanto, el PCE subyacente, el indicador de inflación preferido de la Fed, también saldrá el miércoles y ofrecerá más pistas sobre cuán agresivo podría ser el próximo aumento de la tasa de interés.

A pesar de una racha de acción de balancín, a los mercados les ha ido bien desde que la Fed elevó las tasas de interés en 25 puntos básicos el 16 de marzo en la primera alza desde 2018. El Promedio Industrial Dow Jones, el Nasdaq Composite y el S&P 500 registraron su segunda semana consecutiva de ganancias el viernes para cerrar en máximos de un mes.

Aún así, quedan preguntas sobre el camino a seguir del banco central y los inversores están observando de cerca para ver si el aumento en las tasas a corto plazo que está en marcha mitigará las ganancias del mercado.

El último informe de empleos que se publicará el viernes se produce cuando los operadores se preparan para la probabilidad de que los funcionarios de la Fed se inclinen por costos de endeudamiento más altos de manera más agresiva de lo previsto después de los recientes comentarios del presidente de la Fed, Jerome Powell, que indican que "los aumentos de tasas en curso serán apropiados" para reducir las lecturas de inflación. Si los datos de empleo del viernes muestran un mercado laboral más ajustado que nunca, las autoridades podrían estar aún más inclinadas a seguir adelante con un aumento de 50 puntos básicos.

"El informe de empleos de nómina podría ser el más grande hasta ahora en esta recuperación de la pandemia", dijo el economista jefe de FWDBONDS, Christopher Rupkey, en una nota reciente. "Los funcionarios de la Reserva Federal ya están buscando mayores alzas de tasas de 50 pb en las próximas reuniones, y el mercado laboral más ajustado desde la década de 1960 es como verter gasolina en el fuego donde cualquier funcionario de política que valga la pena está ardiendo con el deseo de obtener tasas de interés hasta niveles neutrales del 2% ahora".

Todo lo que sugiere un informe de empleos asombroso. La semana pasada, las solicitudes de desempleo en Estados Unidos registraron el nivel más bajo desde septiembre de 1969 con 187,000 presentaciones. Además, el informe de empleo más reciente superó lo que los economistas habían estimado, registrando la impresionante cifra de 687,000 empleos agregados o creados durante el mes de febrero. Se espera que el informe de marzo muestre otra lectura robusta con nóminas que probablemente aumenten en 490,000, según estimaciones de economistas de Bloomberg.


This labor market tightness has strongly informed the Fed’s decision to rein in monetary policy, with economic momentum suggesting to officials that the U.S. economy could weather less accommodative financial conditions.

“The Federal Reserve has a dual mandate to promote employment and stable prices,” Bankrate senior industry analyst Ted Rossman said in a note. “The strong labor market is leading the Fed to focus squarely on combating the high inflation rate. Fed Chair Jerome Powell recently hinted at a more aggressive pace of rate hikes, and this report fits that narrative since inflation is a much bigger concern than unemployment right now.”

While an improving labor market is good for U.S. households, widespread job openings have made room for significant leverage for workers, driving wage gains higher and further elevating inflationary pressures.

To add to that, Bank of America pointed out that amid the labor market recovery is a higher level of job openings for any given unemployment rate than compared to prior history. As a result, the short-run inflation neutral unemployment rate (NAIRU) may be higher than longer-run estimates, implying more sustained wage and price pressures in the near-term, according to the bank.

The Labor Department's JOLTs (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary) for February will be released Tuesday with analysts, according to Bloomberg consensus, expecting vacancies of 11 million, similar to January's results.

“The pandemic labor market has seen an extraordinary outward shift in the Beveridge curve (the relationship between unemployment and the job vacancy rate), suggesting difficulty in matching workers to jobs,” BofA economists said in a recent note. “This mismatch may reflect surging goods spending and hence a shortage of workers in the hottest part of the economy.”

Fed's measure of inflation

Also on the inflation front, the Bureau of Economic Analysis is scheduled to release a fresh read on its monthly personal consumption expenditures (PCE) deflator this Thursday. The measure is another gauge of how quickly prices are increasing across the country. Consensus economists expect the PCE to post a rise of another 0.6% in February, according to Bloomberg data, This would mark the 15th consecutive monthly increase and bring the index up by 6.4% on a year-over-year basis.

The core PCE index, which the Fed uses to conduct monetary policy, is also expected to show an increase when the print publishes Wednesday. Consensus economists are looking for a 5.5% increase in core PCE in February, compared to January’s 5.2% rise.

The Fed's already arduous task of mitigating inflation without stunting economic growth is further complicated by geopolitical turmoil in Eastern Europe. War in Ukraine and penalizing sanctions against Russia for its invasion of the country have raised uncertainty in recent weeks over the conflict’s toll on the global economic picture and potential spillover consequences for the U.S. Namely, rising oil prices have elevated inflation expectations. WTI crude oil futures snapped a two-week losing streak to round out the week 8.8% higher at $113.90 per barrel as of Friday's close.

OPEC+ (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting on March 31 with Russia and its nine other allies to discuss May production levels. The intergovernmental organization is expected to maintain current production plans, even as crude oil prices trade at a 14-year high.

“The Fed seems to be the only central bank still focused on increasing its hawkishness” amid higher energy prices and inflation," Charles Schwab Chief Global Investment Strategist Jeffrey Kleintop told Yahoo Finance Live. “It’s noteworthy.”

Consumer confidence

As inflation worries mount, consumers are getting wary about what's ahead. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index due for release on Tuesday will show a timely snapshot of their thinking following the latest spike in prices. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg are looking for the index to fall to 107.0 for March following a read of 110.5 last month.

Un cliente compra en una tienda de delicatessen en Reading Terminal Market después de que la tasa de inflación alcanzara un máximo de 40 años en enero, en Filadelfia, Pensilvania, EE. UU. 19 de febrero de 2022. REUTERS/Hannah Beier
A customer shops at a deli in Reading Terminal Market after the inflation rate hit a 40-year high in January, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. February 19, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah Beier

Last week's further decline in the University of Michigan's final consumer sentiment index for March, which fell to 59.4 from a preliminary reading of 59.7 and 62.8 in the prior month, is an indication of consumers' changing attitude about their economic future. The survey saw more consumers report reduced living standards due to rising inflation than any other time except during the two worst recessions in the past 50 years: from March 1979 to April 1981, and from May to October 2008, the University of Michigan said.

"Usually consumers fret about job opportunities and the lack thereof, but this time, the consumer is in sync with Fed officials that the greatest danger the economy faces is inflation," Rupkey said in recent commentary. "Consumers continue to spend, but future consumption is very much in doubt as the cost of store bought goods soars ever higher."

"We have rarely seen consumers this pessimistic outside of the darkest days of recessions, but the polling indicates the public is more scared about their economic future than they have been in years," he wrote. "Everyone get out of the way because if the consumer stops, then the economy drops and it will be a miracle if the economy can avoid a shipwreck on the shores of recession."

Earnings season has winded down — though the next quarterly read (representing the first three months of 2022) will be underway soon. A few reports are in the queue to trickle in on Friday, with names including Jefferies Financial (JEF), Chewy (CHWY), Lululemon (LULU), and others.

Economic calendar

Monday: Advance Goods Trade Balance, February (-$106.3 billion expected, -$107.6 billion during prior month); Wholesale Inventories, month-over-month, February preliminary (1.2% expected, 0.8% during previous month, upwardly revised to 1.0%); Retail Inventories, month-over-month, February (1.4% expected, 4.9% during prior month); Dallas Fed Manufacturing Activity, March (11 expected, 14 during prior month)

Tuesday: FHFA House Pricing Index, month-over-month, January (1.3% expected, 1.2% during prior month); S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Composite, month-over-month, January (1.50% expected, 1.46% during prior month); S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Composite, year-over-year, January (18.55% expected, 18.56% during prior month); S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, year-over-year, January (18.84% during prior month); Conference Board Consumer Confidence, March (107.0 expected, 110.5 during prior read); Conference Board Present Situation, March (145.1 during prior read); Conference Board Expectations, March (87.5 during prior read); JOLTS job openings, February (11 million expected, 11.26 million during prior month)

Wednesday: MBA Mortgage Applications, week ended March 25 (-8.1% during prior week); ADP Employment Change, March (450,000 expected, 475,000 during prior month); GDP Annualized, quarter-over-quarter, 4Q third (7.0% expected, 7.0% prior); Personal Consumption, quarter-over-quarter, 4Q third (3.1% expected, 3.1% prior); GDP Price Index, quarter-over-quarter, 4Q third (7.1% expected, 7.1% prior); Core PCE, quarter-over-quarter, 4Q third (5.0% expected, 5.0% prior);

Thursday: Challenger Job Cuts, year-over-year, March (-55.9% during prior month); Personal Income, month-over-month, February (0.5% expected, 0.0% during prior month); Personal Spending, month-over-month, February (0.5% expected, 2.1% during prior month); Real Personal Spending, month-over-month, February (-0.2% expected, 1.5% during prior month); PCE deflator, month-over-month, February (0.6% expected, 0.6% during prior month); PCE deflator, year-over-year, February (6.4% expected, 6.1% during prior month); PCE core deflator, month-over-month, February (0.4% expected, 0.5% during prior month); PCE core deflator, year-over-year, February (5.5% expected, 5.2% during prior month); Initial Jobless Claims, week ended March 26 (200,000 expected, 187,000 during prior week); Continuing Claims, week ended March 19 (1.35 million expected, 1.35 million during prior week); MNI Chicago PMI, March (57.0 expected, 56.3 during prior month)

Friday: Two-Month Payroll Net Revision, March (92,000 prior); Change in Nonfarm Payrolls, March (490,000 expected, 678,000 during prior month); Change in Private Payrolls, March (408,000 expected, 444,000 during prior month); Change in Manufacturing Payrolls, January (30,000 expected, 36,000 during prior month); Unemployment Rate, March (3.7% expected, 3.8% during prior month); Average Hourly Earnings, month-over-month, March (0.4% expected, 0.0% during prior month); Average Hourly Earnings, year-over-year, March (5.5% expected, 5.1% prior month); Average Weekly Hours All Employees, March (34.7 expected, 34.7 during prior month); Labor Force Participation Rate, March (62.4% expected, 62.3% during prior month); Underemployment Rate, March (7.2% prior month); S&P Global Manufacturing PMI, March final (58.5 expected, 58.5 during prior month); Construction Spending, month-over-month, February (1.0% expected, 1.3% during prior month); ISM Manufacturing, March (59.0 expected, 58.6 during prior month); ISM Prices Paid, March (80 expected, 75.6 prior month); ISM New Orders, March (61.7 during prior month); ISM Employment, March (52.9 during prior month); WARDS Total Vehicle Sales, March (13.90 million expected, 14.07 million prior month)

Earnings calendar

Monday

Before market open: TPG (TPG)

After market close: Jefferies Financial (JEF), Dave & Buster’s Entertainment (PLAY)

Tuesday

Before market open: McCormick (MKC)

After market close: Chewy (CHWY), RH (RH), Micron Technology (MU), Lululemon (LULU)

Wednesday

Before market open: Five Below (FIVE)

After market close: No notable reports scheduled for release

Thursday

Before market open: Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA)

After market close: Blackberry (BB)

Friday

No notable reports scheduled for release

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance