Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee recently provided his insights on the January job report, emphasizing that although the headline number appeared impressive, the underlying details told a slightly different story. In an interview on the "PBS NewsHour" program, Goolsbee acknowledged the initial impact of the report while cautioning that further examination revealed some weaknesses.

According to Goolsbee, when delving deeper into the data, it becomes evident that the strength portrayed by the headline number might not be as robust. However, he still acknowledged the overall strength of the report. One specific concern he highlighted was the 0.2% decline in hours worked last month despite the significant increase in net new jobs.

When asked about the implications for the upcoming March policy meeting of the central bank, Goolsbee declined to provide a definitive answer, stating that it's premature to draw conclusions with weeks and months of additional data yet to be analyzed.

Earlier on the same day, former Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida also shared his thoughts on the report, suggesting that June would be the most likely time for the first rate cut of the cycle due to the positive January jobs report. This viewpoint is shared by many economists, although traders in derivatives markets anticipate an earlier rate cut in early May.

Goolsbee was also asked about former President Donald Trump's accusation that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell had been influenced by political motives in his interest-rate decisions. In response, Goolsbee reassured that people should not be concerned, emphasizing the transparency of the Federal Reserve. He pointed out that a summary and a full transcript of interest-rate policy meetings are made available to the public, highlighting that decisions are solely based on actual economic conditions and data.

Goolsbee acknowledged a fair concern raised by many Americans regarding high grocery prices since 2021. However, he explained that bringing inflation levels back to where they were several years ago would require significantly increasing interest rates, a move that is currently not under consideration.

Following the release of the jobs report, stock markets, including the DJIA and SPX, closed higher on Friday. Additionally, the 10-year Treasury yield BX:TMUBMUSD10Y saw a significant increase, surpassing 4%.

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