Charting the Global Economy: Jobless Rates Drop in U.S., Germany

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    Unemployment rates in the U.S. and Germany fell while price pressures continued to mount across the globe, developments that are prompting many central banks to raise or consider boosting borrowing costs.

    Euro-area inflation surged to a record last month, while price increases in Korea rose at the fastest pace in a decade. Russia’s central bank will consider a big increase in its key rate at its next meeting. In Brazil, officials have delivered the world’s biggest tightening cycle to rein in inflation, though growth risks are emerging.

    Here are some of the charts that appeared on Bloomberg this week on the latest developments in the global economy:

    U.S.

    The unemployment rate fell in November by more than forecast to 4.2% even as job growth registered its smallest gain this year, offering a mixed picture that may nevertheless push the Federal Reserve to quicken the wind-down of pandemic stimulus. The divergence is because the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report is composed of two surveys — one of households and the other of employers — which each have slightly different questions and definitions of employment.

    In the past two quarters, U.S. corporations outside of the finance industry posted their fattest margins since 1950 — one reason why stock markets keep hitting all-time highs. The data suggest business can comfortably pass on all its higher costs, which means there may be more inflationary pressure to come.

    Austin is at the center of America’s great migration, with transplants flooding the market for high-paying jobs, an easygoing lifestyle and housing that until recent years was cheaper than most coastal cities. That’s sparking the biggest homebuilding boom in Texas history — but the wheels of production are grinding to a halt as supply shortages, inflation and a tight labor market converge.

    Europe

    Euro-area inflation surged to a record for the era of the single currency and exceeded all forecasts, adding to the European Central Bank’s challenge before a crucial meeting next month on the future of monetary stimulus. Consumer prices rose an annual 4.9% in November, topping all projections. A measure that strips out volatile components such as food and energy also reached a record.

    German unemployment extended its decline in November as businesses added staff to work off a backlog in orders. Unemployment in Europe’s largest economy fell by 34,000, beating economists’ forecast for a 25,000 drop. That pushed the jobless rate to 5.3%.

    Asia

    The Bank of Korea said it expects inflation this year to come in above its upward revision of just a week ago as consumer price gains exceeded all estimates in November, accelerating to the fastest pace since 2011.

    Monetary settings are unable to address the critical issues facing Indigenous Australians, Reserve Bank No. 2 Guy Debelle said, noting instead the institution aims to help improve employment and wealth outcomes.

    Emerging Markets

    Brazil economists forecast for the first time that inflation will end next year at the upper limit of the tolerance range, likely boosting pressure on the central bank as it delivers aggressive interest rate hikes. Consumer prices will end 2022 at 5%, according to a central bank survey. Analysts also cut their economic growth estimate for next year to 0.58% from 0.70%.

    The Bank of Russia will consider an increase in its key rate of as much as 100 basis points at its next meeting on Dec. 17 as inflation continues to run at double its target, Governor Elvira Nabiullina said.

    World

    Food prices climbed closer to a record high, giving consumers and governments around the world an even bigger inflation headache. A United Nations gauge of global food prices rose 1.2% last month. Prices have jumped for multiple reasons: weather, higher shipping rates, worker shortages, an energy crunch and soaring fertilizer costs.

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