USA: a good start to the new year, but additional pressure on the US Federal Reserve to hike interest rates. Eurozone: inflationary pressure from the energy side is easing, but second-round effects have intensified. China: the economy continues to recover, driven by an upturn in the services sector.
Chart of the month
The US labour market is buzzing, making a recession appear unlikely. The problem, however, is that employment and unemployment figures are lagging behind the economy. Looking ahead, the large number of job openings does not yet point to a marked turnaround on the labour market, although the official figures paint a better picture than alternative indicators using online job advertisements. What is interesting, however, is that medium-term employment plans have normalised according to a Conference Board survey of CEOs, and US SMEs are also becoming more cautious again according to the NFIB survey. This suggests a certain amount of easing on the US labour market.