There are new signs the economy is gaining momentum, including jobless claims hitting a 15-year low, and a rise in wages, despite the caution expressed by the Fed in its most recent statement. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Just a day after the Fed expressed concern about the labor market - a respite. Jobless claims dropping 34,000 to a seasonally adjusted 262,000. That is the lowest since April of 2000. That's 15 years. Moody's Analytic Ben Garber: SOUNDBITE: BEN GARBER, CAPITAL MARKETS ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "When the Fed statement came out yesterday, they noted a lack of progress in reducing the large amount of slack in the labor market. But when we see just consistently low jobless claims, one can't help but think we are going to see a rebound in hiring in April. That still puts a chance for a rate hike in play later this year. " In fact other reports out Thursday also paint an upbeat picture. Consumer spending rose last month. Consumers bought big ticket items, such as cars and trucks. And a separate report, the employment cost index, showed its largest gain since the third quarter of 2014. In other words, wages are finally showing some traction. And that, says Garber, means we'll probably get more encouraging news on the labor market when we get the monthly report next week. SOUNDBITE: BEN GARBER, CAPITAL MARKETS ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think, the low jobless claims trend pushes us back toward another job report where non-farm payrolls expands by over 200K, so that, again, begins to put more upward pressure on wages, puts the labor market recovery on track, and gives us some indication that consumers are providing the demand to keep the economic engine in full gear." Which in the end would support the Fed's notion that the economic hurdles are transitory.