We're on our way to Maui to spend some time on the beach with family, so expect posts to be on "Maui time" for awhile. Thanks to a good WiFi connection at the airport, I was able to look at this morning's jobs numbers. Quick take: nothing much has changed.
The chart above is arguably the best way to tell whether the economy is picking up. While jobs growth has slowed a bit this year, it is still higher than it was a few years ago. Nevertheless, this is nothing to get excited about. But what the chart does show is that we've had over five years of steady, 2%+ jobs growth, which is a lot more than what we had in the previous business cycle expansion. This is still the slowest recovery on record, but the economy is nevertheless adding jobs at a fairly steady pace. Since the peak of the last expansion, the private sector has added a net 4 million+ jobs. Not great, but still it's progress, and there is still no sign of any significant deterioration on the horizon.
This doesn't make a compelling case for a Fed lift-off, but at the same time there is no reason for them not to normalize rates, as I've been arguing for awhile.