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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
The U.S. jobs market, having long been the bedrock of the nation's economic expansion, is starting to worry economists ahead of next week's payroll data. (ADP's report on Wednesday and the government's on Friday.)
What's happening: After years of remarkably smooth sailing, 2019 has brought market volatility and some concern about whether the economy can keep adding jobs at a fast enough pace to sustain the expansion.
What we're hearing: Job gains don't necessarily have to turn negative to signal trouble, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, told Axios at a labor market conference hosted by payroll processor ADP this week.
All that's required is a strong slowdown in job growth. A 0.5% increase from a cyclical low on the unemployment rate has accurately predicted every recession in recent history and has never been a false positive, as Brookings economist Claudia Sahm noted recently.
Why now? A slowdown is not that unlikely, given the state of the labor market. The unemployment rate is at a 50-year low — it was 3.6% in May — and employers are reporting more trouble finding people to hire.
The trade war also is adding stress to the economy, but so far the effects have been concentrated in the trade and export sectors, which make up a small piece of overall employment.
What to watch: The all-important services side of the economy has been strong, but is beginning to feel the impact of the tight labor market, said Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of ADP Research Institute. The number of job openings exceeded the number of unemployed Americans by the largest margin on record in April.
Yes, but: Another blowout print like January's, which showed 312,000 jobs added, will calm a lot of jitters.
The U.S. has averaged 164,000 jobs added per month this year, compared to 223,000 per month in 2018, and recent data could signal a bumpy ride ahead.
Private prison companies took another dive on Wednesday after Bank of America announced it would no longer finance the facilities.
What's happening: BofA is "joining peers in distancing itself from a sector that has triggered protests over the Trump's policies," Reuters' Imani Moise reported.
Background: Activists have stepped up pressure against the financing of private prisons amid heightened tension over immigration policies from the Trump administration and concerns about facility conditions. Private prisons account for about two-thirds of people held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to S&P Global Ratings estimates.
Earlier this month, the companies were rocked by an announcement from presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who tweeted about about her plan to terminate private prisons entirely.
The big picture: GEO Group's stock is up a little more than 3% year-to-date, but has fallen more than 16% since June 18.
Everything is going right so far this year for Advanced Micro Devices. The company's stock price rose more than 3% on Wednesday, continuing to shake off trade war fears and pushing back towards a 13-year high touched in June.
What they're saying: Analysts at Morgan Stanley, long-time bears on the company, said earlier this month they had made the "wrong call" on the stock and raised their price target to $28 a share.
Nearly 4 in 10 "everyday Americans" say the economy is "not so good" or "poor," defying a pool of "experts" and conventional thinking about the current economic environment.
Driving the news: A new survey by Bankrate.com finds that 28% of Americans surveyed have no emergency savings, the highest rate since 2016, and 40% say they feel the next recession has already begun or will begin within the next 12 months.
The intrigue: Findings were in stark contrast to the views of 9 identified experts who all agreed the economy was strong and see the next recession as 1 year away or more.
Global investors pulled $3.78 billion from hedge funds in May, despite overall outperformance against the stock market, a new survey from data firm eVestment shows. However, there was significant difference in redemptions based on size and performance.
Between the lines: Hedge funds with strong performance during the month saw inflows across asset classes, with the lone exception of multi-asset funds, while hedge funds that lost money broadly saw investors pull out their cash.
The big picture: Hedge funds have seen $25.43 billion of outflows so far this year, and performance losses have further reduced the industry's total assets under management to $3.24 trillion.
Go deeper: The hedge fund moment is over