With the presidential campaign coming strongly into focus, we’re getting a mixed picture from the economy and from policy makers. Voters are feeling economic anxiety — sub 5% unemployment or not — and global financial markets are showing anxieties of their own. A run of poor data abroad and some weak corporate profit reports have given markets a volatile VIX, -3.90% start to 2016, even as the Federal Reserve continues to project steady nerves.
All this happens as the U.S. economy is finally starting to do what inflation doves said it would. In January, the unemployment rate fell below 5%, wage growth picked up a little, and the labor force is expanding at its fastest rate in years. The top line number — 51,000 jobs added wasn’t hot enough to melt steel beams, but overall this was probably the best employment report we’ve seen in a year.The above excerpt was original published in MarketWatch.