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Strong Labor Market News for April- Non-Farm Payrolls Report, Inflation and Interest Rates


  • U.S. unemployment rate down to 3.5% in March, showing labor market resilience
  • Strong hiring pace continues, with 236,000 nonfarm payroll jobs added
  • Annual wage gains slowed but remained too high for the Fed’s 2% inflation target
  • Fed expected to raise interest rates again next month
  • Labor market tightness draws more people into the workforce
  • Financial markets leaning toward a 25 basis point rate increase at the May 2-3 policy meeting

The U.S. labor market showed resilience in March, with a strong pace of hiring that brought the unemployment rate down to 3.5%. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 236,000 jobs last month, and job growth averaged 345,000 per month in the first quarter, more than triple the pace needed to keep up with growth in the working-age population. Although annual wage gains slowed, they remained too high to be consistent with the Federal Reserve’s 2% inflation target. These factors signal that the Fed is likely to raise interest rates one more time next month.


The labor market’s tightness is drawing more people into the workforce, with 480,000 entrants in March, which could help restrain wage growth further. The unemployment rate for Blacks dropped to an all-time low of 5.0%. Industries such as leisure and hospitality, government, professional and business services, healthcare, transportation, and warehousing experienced increases in hiring.

Financial markets are leaning toward the central bank increasing rates by another 25 basis points at the May 2-3 policy meeting, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool. The U.S. central bank raised its benchmark overnight interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point last month, with a policy rate increase of 475 basis points since last March.


The labor market’s resilience has prompted investors to bet on an increased chance of the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates early next month. The economy has shown signs of slowing, but the labor market has not weakened significantly, reducing the likelihood of the Fed cutting rates in June and July. Upcoming inflation data and the consumer-price index for March will also influence the Fed’s policy decision.

What is the Non-Farms Payrolls Report?

The Non-Farm Payrolls (NFP) report is a critical economic indicator for the United States, as it provides a comprehensive snapshot of the labor market’s health by measuring the number of new jobs created or lost outside the agricultural sector over the previous month. Published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on the first Friday of each month, the NFP report offers insights into the state of the economy, which is vital for policymakers, investors, and businesses alike. A strong labor market, as indicated by a robust NFP report, signals economic growth and increased consumer spending, leading to overall economic expansion. Conversely, a weak NFP report suggests an economic slowdown, potentially heralding a recession.

Furthermore, the NFP report carries significant weight for central banks, particularly the Federal Reserve, as it helps shape monetary policy decisions. A consistently strong labor market with low unemployment levels may prompt the Fed to raise interest rates, aiming to curb inflationary pressures. On the other hand, weak employment figures may result in the Fed lowering interest rates to stimulate economic growth and job creation. These interest rate adjustments can have far-reaching implications on financial markets, currency values, and global investment decisions. Consequently, the NFP report is closely monitored by market participants, who may adjust their investment strategies based on the report’s outcomes, leading to potential fluctuations in the stock, bond, currency, and commodity markets, including the gold market. In summary, the Non-Farm Payrolls report is a vital economic indicator that helps gauge the health of the U.S. labor market and plays a crucial role in shaping monetary policy and global financial market dynamics.

Gold Prices, Precious Metals with their Impact on Non-Farm Payrolls

Gold prices dropped by around 1% on Monday, falling below $2,000 per ounce, following the release of U.S. employment data that indicated a strong labor market and increased expectations of a Federal Reserve rate hike in May. Spot gold declined 0.9% to $1,990.69 per ounce, and U.S. gold futures slipped 1% to $2,006.30. This fall in gold prices was attributed to profit-taking based on rate hike expectations and a stable dollar. The dollar index was up 0.1%, making gold more expensive for international buyers.


Chart of Gold Futures

Points to Note on Gold:

  • Price is Above 20 Day and 200 Day MA
  • Possible reversal expected to the 20 Day MA
  • Short Term Support at 1941 Level
  • Short Term Resistance at 2048 Level
  • Expect volatile moves in Gold in the coming Weeks

The Non-Farm Payrolls (NFP) report often influences gold prices as it provides key insights into the U.S. labor market’s health, which can affect interest rates and the value of the U.S. dollar. Here’s a table outlining the positive and negative impacts of NFP on gold prices:

Impact of NFP Report

Impact on Gold Prices


Positive (strong)

Negative (decrease)

A strong NFP report may lead to expectations of higher interest rates, strengthening the U.S. dollar, and making gold more expensive for overseas buyers, which can decrease demand and lower gold prices.

Negative (weak)

Positive (increase)

A weak NFP report may signal a struggling economy and increase the likelihood of lower interest rates, weakening the U.S. dollar, and making gold more attractive to overseas buyers, which can increase demand and raise gold prices.

Despite the current dip, the short-term outlook for gold remains positive as long as prices stay above $1,920. Gold is typically seen as a hedge against inflation, but higher interest rates raise the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding asset. The bull trend for gold, which began in November 2022, is still ongoing. However, a “stickier” core U.S. CPI on Wednesday could solidify the likelihood of a 25 basis-point hike and make it less likely that gold prices reach all-time highs this month, unless a new catalyst emerges.

Other precious metals also experienced declines, with spot silver losing 1% to $24.75 per ounce, platinum dropping 0.5% to $1,002.35, and palladium falling 0.3% to $1,461.31. Markets in Australia, Hong Kong, and parts of Europe were closed on Monday due to Easter holidays

Interest rates and Inflation with Non-Farm Payrolls

Interest rates play a crucial role in the overall health of an economy, including its inflation rate. In general, higher interest rates lead to lower inflation, while lower interest rates can contribute to higher inflation. Central banks, like the Federal Reserve in the U.S., use interest rate adjustments as a tool to control inflation and maintain price stability. When the economy is growing too quickly and inflation is rising, central banks may raise interest rates to slow borrowing and spending, thereby curbing inflation. Conversely, when the economy is sluggish and inflation is low, central banks may lower interest rates to encourage borrowing and spending, which can help increase inflation.

The Non-Farm Payrolls (NFP) report provides valuable information about the state of the U.S. labor market, which in turn influences the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decisions. Strong NFP reports, indicating robust job growth and low unemployment rates, may signal a healthy economy that could tolerate higher interest rates. In contrast, weak NFP reports, characterized by sluggish job growth and high unemployment rates, may suggest that the economy is struggling and could benefit from lower interest rates to stimulate growth. The Fed’s interest rate adjustments based on the NFP report and other economic indicators can directly impact inflation.

Historically, there have been instances where the relationship between interest rates, inflation, and the NFP report is evident. For example, during the early 1980s, the U.S. experienced high inflation, leading the Federal Reserve to aggressively raise interest rates. This move contributed to a recession and high unemployment rates, which were reflected in the NFP reports. As the economy recovered, interest rates were gradually lowered, and the labor market, as indicated by the NFP, improved.

• Higher interest rates generally lead to lower inflation, while lower interest rates can contribute to higher inflation.

• The Non-Farm Payrolls (NFP) report influences the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decisions based on the health of the U.S. labor market.

• Historical examples, such as the early 1980s, show the interplay between interest rates, inflation, and the NFP report.


Economic Condition

Interest Rate Decision

Inflation Impact

Non-Farm Payrolls (NFP) Impact

High Inflation

Overheating Economy

Increase Interest Rates


Potential Slowdown in Job Growth

Low Inflation

Sluggish Economy

Decrease Interest Rates


Potential Boost in Job Growth

Strong NFP Report

Healthy Labor Market

Possible Rate Hike

Dependent on Economic Conditions

Increase in Job Growth, Low Unemployment

Weak NFP Report

Struggling Labor Market

Possible Rate Cut

Dependent on Economic Conditions

Decrease in Job Growth, High Unemployment

This table summarizes the relationship between economic conditions, interest rate decisions, inflation, and the Non-Farm Payrolls (NFP) report. It shows how central banks may adjust interest rates in response to inflation and labor market conditions, as indicated by the NFP report, and how these adjustments can affect both inflation and job growth. Please note that the actual impact of these factors may vary depending on specific economic conditions and policy decisions.

Fed Interest Rate Impact:

If the Fed interest rate forecast is expected to be lower, it could have the following impacts on the economy, stock markets, and businesses from a cyclical perspective:


  • Lower interest rates can encourage consumer spending, as borrowing becomes cheaper, which can lead to an increase in economic growth and employment.
  • Lower interest rates can make it easier for businesses to access credit, which can promote investment and expansion, potentially leading to job creation and economic growth.
  • Lower interest rates can lead to a weaker currency, which can make exports more attractive and boost economic growth.

Stock markets:

  • Lower interest rates can make stocks more attractive relative to bonds, as fixed income yields may be lower. This can lead to increased demand for equities, potentially driving up stock prices.
  • Lower interest rates can make borrowing cheaper for businesses, potentially leading to increased investment and expansion. This can increase earnings and drive up stock prices.
  • Lower interest rates can lead to a weaker currency, which can benefit companies with significant overseas operations as their foreign earnings are worth more in their domestic currency.



  • Lower interest rates can make it easier for businesses to access credit, potentially leading to increased investment and expansion. This can lead to job creation and economic growth.
  • Lower interest rates can reduce the cost of borrowing for businesses, potentially leading to increased profitability.
  • Lower interest rates can lead to a weaker currency, which can benefit companies with significant overseas operations as their foreign earnings are worth more in their domestic currency.

However, it’s important to note that the impact of lower interest rates on the economy, stock markets, and businesses can be complex and may vary depending on a range of factors, including the current economic climate and the reasons behind the interest rate cut.

How does inflation affect Employment Rates?

Interest rates play a pivotal role in shaping labor market dynamics, influencing both “good” and “bad” unemployment rates. “Good” unemployment, or frictional unemployment, occurs when individuals are between jobs or are searching for better opportunities. In contrast, “bad” unemployment, or cyclical unemployment, is the result of economic downturns or contractions, leaving individuals out of work involuntarily.

During periods of low interest rates, borrowing costs are reduced, prompting businesses to expand and invest in new projects. As a result, companies are more likely to hire additional workers to support growth, lowering both frictional and cyclical unemployment rates. However, low interest rates may also lead to increased inflationary pressures in the long term, as higher levels of employment can push up wages and production costs. Thus, central banks must strike a delicate balance between promoting job growth and maintaining price stability.

Historically, the relationship between interest rates and unemployment has been evident in various economic cycles. For example, during the Great Recession of 2007-2009, the U.S. Federal Reserve significantly lowered interest rates in an attempt to stimulate the economy and reduce the high levels of cyclical unemployment. While this policy action contributed to a gradual decline in unemployment rates, it also led to a prolonged period of low interest rates, which has had lasting implications for the economy.

Key takeaways:

  • Interest rates affect both “good” (frictional) and “bad” (cyclical) unemployment rates by influencing business investment and expansion decisions.
  • Low interest rates can lead to increased hiring and reduced unemployment, but may also contribute to higher inflationary pressures in the long term.
  • Historical examples, such as the Great Recession, highlight the delicate balance central banks must maintain between promoting job growth and ensuring price stability.

Possible Investment Strategies:

Investment Strategy


Risk Level

1. Diversify into defensive stocks

Given the potential for interest rate hikes and uncertain gold prices, investing in defensive stocks, such as utility companies, consumer staples, and healthcare, could offer stability and resilience in a volatile market. Defensive stocks tend to perform well during economic downturns or periods of market instability.

Low to Moderate

2. Invest in Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS)

With the possibility of rising inflation due to interest rate hikes, TIPS can provide a hedge against inflation. The principal of these securities increases with inflation and decreases with deflation, helping preserve the purchasing power of your investment.


3. Maintain a balanced portfolio with a focus on income-generating assets

Considering the uncertain market conditions, focusing on income-generating assets, such as dividend-paying stocks or bonds, could provide a steady income stream. It’s crucial to maintain a well-diversified portfolio that includes a mix of asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and cash, to spread risk and mitigate potential losses.



In conclusion, the non-farm payrolls report holds significant importance in shaping the economic outlook, influencing monetary policy decisions, and affecting market sentiment. As a critical indicator of labor market health, the non-farm payrolls report can provide valuable insights into the overall strength of the economy and future growth prospects. A consistently strong job market, with robust job creation and low unemployment rates, signals a healthy economy, which in turn can lead to higher consumer spending, increased business investment, and ultimately, greater economic growth.

The recent non-farm payrolls report, which showed an increase in job growth and a slight dip in the unemployment rate, suggests a tightening labor market. This can have a dual impact on the economy, with positive effects such as increased consumer confidence and spending, but also the potential for wage inflation and subsequent interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. In light of these dynamics, it becomes essential for investors to stay informed about the labor market trends and anticipate potential shifts in monetary policy. By closely monitoring the non-farm payrolls report and other related economic indicators, investors can make informed decisions about their investment strategies, ensuring that they are well-positioned to capitalize on opportunities and mitigate risks in the ever-changing economic landscape.