Nov 1, 2021 - Economy

The economic indicators we're watching this week

Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, speaks during a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, D.C.

Jerome Powell speaks during a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., in September. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Jerome Powell takes the stage again Wednesday afternoon for the Federal Open Market Committee’s press conference.

The big picture: There will be details of the upcoming taper, of course (boring!) — but we all want to hear more about the Fed’s evolving views on rate liftoff.

  • Over the last month or two as inflation trends have gotten a little stickier, markets like short-term Treasuries and fed funds futures have begun pricing in a rate hike next year.

Powell may (or may not) wish he had an inkling of Friday’s employment numbers when he addresses the nation — as those figures will show whether the persistent labor gridlock is starting to loosen.

By the numbers: Consensus estimates are for 437,500 new jobs created in October, according to FactSet, up from 194,000 the month before.

  • The last jobs report, for September, showed that labor force participation ticked down — at a time when only half the pandemic-induced reduction to the labor force has been recouped.
  • I’ll be zeroing in on the participation rate for women, which has cratered compared to men, likely due to care-taking responsibilities.

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