The U.S. economy is performing better than expected, according to the latest round of economic data that was released this week. This positive development comes despite concerns about consumer spending.
Retail sales rose by 0.3% on a month-over-month basis, thereby outperforming an expected decline of 0.2%. Sales on an annual basis rose by 1.6%.
On the inflation front, consumer price index data showed that inflation cooled to 4% in May. This comes as the labor market softens, with jobless claims reaching 262,000 last week; the highest level since October 2021. Consensus estimates were 245,000 weekly claims.
Following the latest slew of economic data, the Federal Reserve announced its decision to pause its interest rate hikes, thereby keeping rates in the range of 5% to 5.25%. According to JP Morgan Asset Management global market strategist Jordan Jackson, the Fed’s rate hiking agenda should be nearing an end given the softening labor market.
“If you want to think about the labor market, that’s always the last shoe to fall. Once the labor market breaks, that’s when you’re in the recession,” Jackson explained. “I think the Fed should be done. I think further hikes, especially two more hikes potentially is overdoing it.”