Strong jobs not the ‘ticking time bomb’ Fed Powell thinks

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The idea of full employment — a jobless rate so low that companies struggle to find and hire workers — is “fantastic for our great country,” according to CNBC’s Jim Cramer.

The current amazingly strong job market is not going to cause the worrisome inflation that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell seems to think it will, Cramer argued Thursday on “Squawk on the “Street.” A tighter supply of people looking for work tends to force companies to pay higher wages, which can be passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices.

“[Powell] feels full employment, I think, is a ticking time bomb. I think it’s fantastic for our great country,” said Cramer, who’s recently made no secret that he believes the Fed’s projected path for interest rate hikes is dead wrong given signals that economic growth may slow next year.

Cramer believes that companies won’t be able to raise prices into, what he sees as, inevitable slower growth no matter how much their labor costs go up. Therefore, the “Mad Money” host thinks, Fed officials should pause their rate hikes until they can get a better handle on the future of the economy by waiting for more data.

The stock market has been under pressure and prone to more volatility since Powell, earlier this month, said rates were a “long way” from neutral, a level where they’re neither restrictive nor accommodative.

Those remarks, coupled with projections out after the September Fed meeting, about an aggressive path higher for rates next year, knocked Wall Street down about 4 percent last week.

On Wednesday, the minutes of last month’s Fed meeting were released, giving a clearer signal that central bankers remain convinced that continuing to gradually increase rates is the best formula to preserve a steady economy.

The Fed has raised rates three times this year, with another one expected in December.

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report.

2018-10-18 16:21:00

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