Posted July 19, 2023

Economist: Fed's hawkish pause, plus jobs report, CPI make for complicated landscape

By Christopher Chidzik

As we quickly approach the Summer Economic Outlook Webinar, hosted by AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology, it would be worthwhile to take note of all of the events that have taken place since the last webinar. In the eight weeks since AMT last hosted Mark Killion, director of U.S. industry at Oxford Economics, we have seen a hawkish pause from the Federal Reserve, two strong jobs reports, one big GDP revision, and a lower-than-expected CPI reading.

Just weeks after the last update, the Federal Reserve decided at their June meeting to keep interest rates unchanged, yet issued a starkly more hawkish statement, signaling future rate hikes were all but certain. The pause indicated the Fed was getting closer to reaching its goal of reducing inflation but likely still had some way to go. Subsequently released data strengthened this view as 2023 Q1 GDP was revised up to 2% annualized growth, in quite a significant change that brings growth roughly back to trend and showed the economy has been resilient despite the previous ten consecutive rate increases from the Federal Reserve.

The release of the June jobs report, while missing expectations, still showed a robust labor market that added over 200,000 jobs — well above the monthly average from January 2018 to December 2019. This landscape was further complicated last week by a lower inflation reading than was expected. While the Consumer Price Index data was not the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation and still showed a reading above the target rate, it rallied markets by calling into question the certainty of a July interest rate hike.

The July Fed meeting is next week and from that meeting we can get a lot of valuable data to help steer our expectations of where the economy is heading, how it will impact manufacturing and how business can react. To help make sense of this deluge of information, AMT will host the Summer Economic Update Webinar featuring an updated forecast from Mark Killion with Q&A moderated by Chris Chidzik, principal economist at AMT on Thursday, August 3 at 1 p.m. EDT. There is no cost to attend, but you must register to secure your spot.