Job growth was much better than expected in November.
In fact, nonfarm payrolls were up by 263,000 for the month, as compared to expectations for 200,000. Unfortunately, the numbers will do little to slow the Federal Reserve’s fight against inflation. In another painful blow to anti-inflation efforts, average hourly earnings were up0.6% in November, which was about double estimates.
“The Fed is looking for a jobs number high enough to show we’re not in recession, but low enough that they can ease up on rate hikes,” said Rucha Vankudre, senior economist with the labor market analytics firm Lightcast, as quoted by MarketWatch.
For November, leisure and hospitality added 88,000 jobs. Health care added 45,000. Government jobs added 42,000. Construction added 20,000 positions. Manufacturing added 14,000. And ahead of the holidays, retail lost 30,000 jobs. Transportation and warehousing also saw a decline, down 15,000.
In short, buckle up. The major indices are swimming in red on these numbers.
So, what can investors do?
One, sit tight. This too shall pass. Two, consider volatility trades, such as the ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (UVXY), which was designed to match two times (2x) the daily performance of the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index.
There’s also the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures (VXX), which provides exposure to the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index.
And there’s also the ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (VIXY), which provides long exposure to the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index, which measures the returns of a portfolio of monthly VIX futures contracts with a weighted average of one month to expiration.