The Monday Moneybeat

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming next on The World and Everything in It, the Monday Moneybeat.

KUDLOW: We’re on a roll, and it’s gonna stay like that.

NICK EICHER, HOST: White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow touting the best jobs report in almost a year: American employers added 304,000 new jobs in January. It’s 100 consecutive months of positive job growth. But with a government shutdown that put almost 200,000 workers on the sidelines, the unemployment rate ticked up to 4 percent. Gus Faucher is chief economist at PNC Financial.

KUDLOW: But I would expect that we will see the unemployment rate decline again in February now that those workers are back on the job.

Faucher says businesses are reporting stronger demand for their goods and services, and so he predicts solid job growth for the rest of 2019.

REICHARD: The Labor Department also reported workers enjoyed a rise in annual wages and benefits of seven-tenths of a percent in the final quarter of 2018. So year over year, total compensation is up almost three percent. Strong manufacturing is helping drive job creation and higher pay. The Institute for Supply Management reported its manufacturing index for January at 56.6 percent. Any number north of 50 represents industry growth.

EICHER: We are getting caught up on other government economic reports, but that is slower-going. We have numbers from November for construction and home sales. Construction rose modestly, but home sales showed a glimmer of hope, picking up almost 17 percent in November.

Now, it is important to note, the housing market has a lot of lost ground to make up. Even with the positive report, year over year, last November is still almost 8 percent below the previous November.

REICHARD: The Federal Reserve met last week and decided to leave interest rates alone. Jay Powell is chairman of the Fed.

POWELL: The U.S. economy is in a good place and we will continue to use our monetary policy tools to help keep it there.

Powell added he’s mindful of trouble abroad that could threaten the American economy: lagging growth in China and Europe, uncertainty about Brexit, and Italy in recession.

POWELL: That has important implications for us and that story has, let’s just say, it continues.

EICHER: The Fed boosted interest rates four times last year, and seemed poised for about three more this year. But Powell started changing his tune last month in his public statements, and the Fed governors last week voted unanimously not to raise rates in the January meeting.

The stock market loved that. All the major indexes posted gains on the news and all finished in positive territory for the week. For the month of January and so far this year, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index is up 8 percent, the Dow Jones Industrials up 7.4 percent. The Nasdaq has picked up 9.5 percent and the smaller-company index, the Russell 2000 has jumped 11.4 percent.

And that is this week’s Monday Moneybeat.

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh) White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow speaks to reporters in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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