The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to boost the benchmark lending rate target by another quarter percentage point on Wednesday, marking the 10th consecutive increase going back to March of last year. While officials’ efforts have helped to reduce price pressures in the US economy, inflation remains well above their goal. At the same time, first-quarter growth figures this past week pointed to an economy that’s downshifting. The monthly jobs report on Friday will give a sense of how labour demand a key support for the economy is holding up.
The projected 180,000 increase in April payrolls is seen as healthy, although it would mark the third straight month of decelerating employment growth. The still-firm labour market has been instrumental in extending an economic expansion that’s increasingly feeling the pinch from tighter Fed policy. Other data on the schedule include March job openings and April surveys of purchasing managers in manufacturing and services.