May 4, 2018
The unemployment rate is down 2 tenths to 3.9 percent and an 18-year best but it is not being accompanied by an increase in wage pressures, at least not in April's employment report as average hourly earnings posted only a 0.1 percent monthly gain. But job growth has been very solid, at 164,000 for April's nonfarm payrolls, and further growth would underscore this week's message from the FOMC, that it will respond to rising inflation as it would to sagging inflation.
The lack of wage pressure helped support the stock market where the Dow, at 24,311, closed a very sharp 1.3 percent higher on Friday to cut its weekly loss to 0.2 percent. Oil was a very big mover in the week, up 2.5 percent and nearing a test of $70 at $69.78, while the dollar also gained, up 1.2 percent in the week to 92.61 on the dollar index which is now in the plus column for the year, at 0.3 percent. Rates were little changed in the week.