In this segment of the Motley Fool Money podcast, host Chris Hill is joined by Million Dollar Portfolio's Jason Moser and Matt Argersinger, and Total Income's Ron Gross, to reflect on the week's business and economic news, and the big story in one sense was the macro numbers out of the Labor Department, which showed unemployment holding steady at 4.1% as employers added 300,000 new jobs in February. Retail hiring was particularly interesting, but these were early numbers. What does it mean for the economy, or interest rates, or the retail apocalypse? The guys discuss.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on March 9, 2017.
Chris Hill: The U.S. economy added more than 300,000 jobs in February as the unemployment rate holds steady at 4.1%. Matty, in terms of Wall Street's reaction, what a difference a month makes.
Matt Argersinger: I know, Chris. I'm kind of confused. I thought it was a strong jobs report last month that caused all this vicious volatility we had in February. And this month's job report was even stronger. I really don't know what's going on, except you have to conclude that, really, overreacting to these macro headlines is just probably something you don't want to do as a long-term investor. This particular report was very strong. Retail jobs up 50,000. Construction jobs up over 61,000. I think it's because wages didn't rise as much as some of pundits were expecting. That's why the market was rallying on Friday.
Hill: Yeah, Jason, the retail number was really pretty surprising, considering the narrative we've had for years about Amazon taking jobs.
Jason Moser: Well, who knows how that's actually going to turn out at the end of the year, because I think the story with these reports always materializes a month or two after they're reported. It's the adjustments to the numbers which I think is what we need to pay more attention to. But I think it's interesting to see how the narrative changes so quickly from, we were looking at three or four rate hikes this year to, now we see some folks out there saying maybe we don't even need to worry about a rate hike just yet, because inflation isn't quite stoked up as high as they thought it might be.
Ron Gross: And once Amazon puts 50,000 people into my neighborhood, those retail numbers will even look better. But I don't envy the Fed. Bringing us in for a soft landing, or easing up when they need to ease up, it's a balancing act that's tough. Inflation and GDP and interest rates, not always a science.
Argersinger: Right. And just remember, the market dropped 11% based on the news last month. It's rallying on this news. Just, buy stocks and hold them for a long time.
Gross: Yeah, for the love ...
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Chris Hill owns shares of Amazon. Jason Moser has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Matthew Argersinger owns shares of Amazon. Ron Gross owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.