FACTORING BLOG

Federal Reserve Expects Only One Rate Cut in 2024

The Federal Reserve officials indicated a reduction in their benchmark interest rate just once this year, down from their previous projection of three rate cuts. Despite recent cooling, inflation remains persistently above their target level. Financial markets reacted positively to the Fed’s statement, with stock indexes rising sharply and bond yields falling. The central bank’s rate policies could impact the presidential race and consumer borrowing costs. Chair Jerome Powell downplayed the significance of the forecast for just one rate cut, while economists still consider the possibility of two rate cuts. The economy is doing well overall, but uncertainty over borrowing rates is causing concern for consumers, especially those looking to buy homes. Inflation has eased in recent months, and policymakers aim to slow spending and defeat high inflation without causing a recession.

Inflation and Rate Cut Forecast:

  • Federal Reserve officials have noted that inflation is still high but has moved closer to its target level.
  • The key rate remains unchanged at roughly 5.3% since July last year. (After raising it 11 times to slow spending and cool inflation)
  • The economy remains healthy overall, and the Fed feels little urgency to cut rates further.  Having said that, they now indicate one interest rate cut this year. 
  • Some Economists believe two rate cuts are still possible, with the first potentially coming in September.
  • Financial markets responded positively to the Fed’s fight against high inflation, with stock indexes rising and bond yields falling.
  • If the Fed reduces its benchmark rate, it would eventually lower consumer loan costs.

Consumer Impact:

  • High borrowing rates continue to burden consumers seeking mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards.
  • Uncertainty about when rates might decrease affects homebuyers, who found elevated mortgage rates unfeasible for purchasing a new home.
  • Businesses will continue to find that banks are unwilling to loan money and are tightening up on credit, so you should know your options for cash. 

Staffing Industry Impact

  • According to Noah Yosif, Chief Economist for the American Staffing Association, the days when we see 4% economic growth are gone. Economists are predicting 2% growth in the future.
  • Job openings have fallen 30% since March 2022.  Companies are being cautious as economic conditions continue to tighten.
  • Temporary help employment is declining because there’s less churn, meaning people aren’t leaving jobs, and employers are just maintaining the current headcount.
  • It’s predicted that the labor market will remain slower for longer.   We will likely have a lower demand market for the next 12-18 months. 
  • The good news is that the small business optimism index reached its highest of the year in May at 95. There are still job openings and positions that can’t be filled.  
  • What can you do?  Double down on relationship building and sales. Get to know your clients, so you have an edge as soon as your clients are ready to hire. Understand how their businesses are being impacted by the economy and by AI.  How will skills shift?  How can you help bridge skills gaps?    

To learn more, visit https://apnews.com/article/federal-reserve-inflation-prices-interest-rates-cuts

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