This past Friday, the latest jobs report said employers had added 273,000 jobs this February, while the unemployment rate remained at a 3.5 percent, 50-year low. Friday Morning, Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, announced the jobs report showed a “sturdy economy.”
The news came as the novel coronavirus continued to shake stock markets, rattle the travel industry, and ripple through global supply chains.
Economic strategist and commentator Steve Moore joined The Cats Roundtable to find the silver lining for an economy clouded by virus fears, calling the Friday jobs report “off the charts.”
While the coronavirus is a concern, it is the apprehension of markets responding to the virus that has led the stocks to shudder. “I think that the biggest danger right now is not the virus, it’s the fear,” Moore explained, adding that “prudent steps” are necessary to confront both the coronavirus and the economic fallout.
He is optimistic despite the market woes, urging a healthy caution, with more roller-coaster days on the stock market to come.
“I’m still worried about maybe some more down days in the stock market, and maybe even a few down weeks,” he explained, adding he wasn’t certain “the bottom has been reached.” But he remained confident for the long term market and agreed with Kudlow that the economy is “sturdy.”
That’s not to say fault-lines haven’t been exposed with this virus, but Moore is steadfast that the jobs report shows American businesses are keeping steady.
“That’s a real tribute to the strong economy that our friend Donald Trump’s created,” he said, reflecting that once “the confidence in the health of the American people is restored,” that the market will reel back to its record-breaking highs this February, calling this a “short-term pause in the growth that Trump has created.”
On Tuesday, the Fed cut its interest rates, citing the unknowns and fears over the coronavirus; but, Moore is uncertain about the effectiveness of the Fed’s move. He wasn’t unopposed however, to helping industries particularly hard hit by the coronavirus, including the travel industry and oil and gas producers.
“Some tax relief now to get them through these turbulent times would make sense to me,” Moore said.
But in the end, Moore believes that while the coronavirus is spooking markets, the jobs report shows a robust economy, and once the virus—and perhaps, more importantly, the fear persisting about it—is contained, eventually the economy will shift back into its projected growth path.