Broker Check
Economic Update January 2024

Economic Update January 2024

January 19, 2024

At PalomarWealth, it is important that you are well-informed about what is happening in the markets. Here are a few of the key topics of conversation that deserve the most attention this month. If you have any questions or would like to continue the conversation, please reach out.

Jobs, inflation, and expectations around what the Federal Reserve may or may not do continue to be the focus of markets as 2024 begins. The latest jobs report showed December exceeded most economists' expectations, with the economy adding 216,000 jobs1, surpassing estimates by 41,0002. Further, wages rose more than anticipated, having gained 4.1% compared to December 20221. While the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.7%1, the drop in labor force participation will be an area to watch. Overall, last year saw 2.7 million new jobs as the economy1 defied strongly held expectations of a recession arriving sometime in 2023. Despite the stronger-than-expected jobs report, the overall gradual cooling trend continues to be the predominant belief across economists, though wage growth could spell trouble for dovish expectations around Federal Reserve policy in 2024.

On the inflation front, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 0.3% in December and 3.4% over the year3, both faster than the market had expected and an acceleration from November. However, yearly changes in core CPI, which excludes the more volatile food and energy components, continued to improve in December, though just barely, rising 3.9% versus the 4.0% gain from the November report. Shelter continues to play a significant role in the headline inflation story, despite indications and expectations throughout the year that it would slow. While one month’s report does not indicate a trend, if a trend were to form, the current expectations for the Federal Reserve to begin cutting rates early this year could be in jeopardy. As the market has continued to show over the last year, changing expectations can quickly create ripples and volatility across capital markets.

The bottom line: The market's growing consensus on a substantial dovish pivot from the Federal Reserve this year fueled the late 2023 market rally. However, the same expectations may also set the stage for potential volatility if that picture were to shift again. The market saw multiple consensus expectations shifts in 2023 and this year may be no different. While only time will tell, investors will likely stay focused on the upcoming inflation, retail sales, and jobs reports to continue to take the temperature of the health of the consumer. At some point the relentless focus on the Federal Reserve will shift, but not yet.

Sources:

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm
  2. Consensus estimate from Bloomberg’s survey of economists
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm

 

Disclosures:

 The material presented includes information and opinions provided by a party not related to Thrivent Advisor Network. It has been obtained from sources deemed reliable; but no independent verification has been made, nor is its accuracy or completeness guaranteed. The opinions expressed may not necessarily represent those of Thrivent Advisor Network or its affiliates. They are provided solely for information purposes and are not to be construed as solicitations or offers to buy or sell any products, securities, or services. They also do not include all fees or expenses that may be incurred by investing in specific products. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. You cannot invest directly in an index. The opinions expressed are subject to change as subsequent conditions vary. Thrivent Advisor Network and its affiliates accept no liability for loss or damage of any kind arising from the use of this information.  

 Investment advisory services offered through Thrivent Advisor Network, LLC., a registered investment adviser and a subsidiary of Thrivent.  Clients will separately engage a broker-dealer or custodian to safeguard their investment advisory assets.  Review the Thrivent Advisor Network ADV Disclosure Brochure and Wrap-Fee Program Brochure for a full description of services, fees, and expenses. Thrivent Advisor Network LLC advisors may also be registered representatives of a broker-dealer to offer securities products.

Advisory Persons of Thrivent provide advisory services under a “doing business as” name or may have their own legal business entities. However, advisory services are engaged exclusively through Thrivent Advisor Network, LLC, a registered investment adviser. PalomarWealth and Thrivent Advisor Network, LLC are not affiliated companies. Information in this message is for the intended recipient[s] only. Please visit our website www.palomarwealth.com for important disclosures. 

This communication may include forward looking statements. Specific forward-looking statements can be identified by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts and include, without limitation, words such as “may,” “will,” “expects,” “believes,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “estimates,” “projects,” “targets,” “forecasts,” “seeks,” “could’” or the negative of such terms or other variations on such terms or comparable terminology. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that are difficult to predict and that could cause actual results to differ materially.

Index Benchmarks presented within this report may not reflect factors relevant for your portfolio or your unique risks, goals or investment objectives. Past performance of an index is not an indication or guarantee of future results. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. 

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. It is the principal fact-finding agency in the broad field of labor economics and statistics and serves as part of the U.S. Federal Statistical System. BLS collects, calculates, analyzes, and publishes data essential to the public, employers, researchers, and government organizations.