Will Friday’s Jobs Report Influence Fed’s Rate Hike Decision?
A stronger or weaker jobs report, month over month, will surely factor into the Federal Reserve's decision-making about whether or not to raise interest rates.
Recently, the monthly jobs reports from the U.S. Department of Labor have generally been on the positive side.
However, Maury Randall, professor and chair of the Finance Department at Rider University, said a closer look behind those rosy month-to-month jobs numbers may reveal a bit more reality.
According to Randall, whether it's average incomes or the number of part-time jobs that are out there, or how many people cannot get the kinds of jobs they want, every factor gives you a different reading as to how good the labor market really is.
"Based on the traditional unemployment rate, the rate is not at all high based on the new jobs numbers," he said. "Those numbers look quite reasonable."
For months, economic observers have been pondering whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates. It has become more of an issue of late, with stock markets stumbling.
Randall said despite the headlines, the Fed's reach is somewhat limited.
"The Federal Reserve works on monetary policy, but the performance of the economy is also very, very strongly influenced by the types of regulations that exist, tax policy," he said, adding, "All of the attention is on whether the Federal Reserve is going to raise rates by 25 basis points, about a quarter of a percent. But that is the reality of the world today."
An interest rate hike, Randall said, will not have a great influence on the average consumer's savings or borrowing.
"It seems to be primarily psychological," he said. "It seems people are so worried about this thing, at least based on what you hear on the press reports, that this seems to be a significant factor in the markets going up and down."
Randall said the markets are very "nervous" right now, looking for excuses to either ratchet things up or down.