More Steps Forward than Back Still
During the previous fortnight, I had highlighted the release of the February US payrolls as a critical day for all markets, given where they were broadly trading in the period ahead of its release. Whether it be the front end of the US interest rate curve, the stock market or currencies, it would be important for them all, especially if it repeated the previous two months of surprising on the upside. In the event, the release was better than expected, especially helped by revisions upwards to previous month’s payrolls, but it wasn’t quite as gangbusters as it could have been. The unemployment rate remained at 8.3 per cent, which was slightly disappointing compared to some expectations – although the fact that the participation rate picked up is surely good news. Anyhow, there is certainly enough in this data to support those of us that believe the US has entered a healthier self-sustaining recovery and comparisons with 2011, when it all turned out to be temporary, look wide of the mark to me.