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Bitcoin (BTC) Price Slips as US Labor Market Figures Hotter Than Expected

3 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • The U.S. jobs report revealed that aggressive interest rate hikes have been unable to cool an increase in the demand for jobs.
  • The nonfarm payrolls for Nov. 2022 beat analysts' expectations, coming in at 263,000 compared to 200,000.
  • Cryptos have exhibited a close correlation with stock markets in the recent week, as the industry faces a crisis of trust after the failure of multiple digital asset firms.
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Bitcoin fell 2% to around $16,800 after the Nov. 2022 U.S. jobs report revealed a strong labor market, despite the Federal Reserve’s six consecutive interest rate hikes in 2022.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 263,000, beating the Dow Jones estimate of 200,000, while the unemployment rate matched expectations at 3.7%.

Jobs Report Signals Fed Hikes Are Likely to Persist

The gain in nonfarm payrolls came in slightly lower than the revised Oct. 2022 increase of 284,000, while average hourly earnings rose 0.6% compared to estimates of 0.3%.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the nonfarm payroll and average hourly earnings at 8:30 E.T. on the first Friday of every month as part of the Employment Situation report.

While rising employment rates and wages generally point to a healthy economy, wages that grow too fast, especially in the presence of record levels of inflation, encourage the Fed to continue raising interest rates to ensure that the economy doesn’t run red-hot. 

“To have 263,000 jobs added even after policy rates have been raised by some [375] basis points is no joke,” noted Seema Shah of Principal Asset Management. “The labor market is hot, hot, hot, heaping pressure on the Fed to continue raising policy rates.”

Raising policy or interest rates cools economic expansion, but if done too aggressively, it could significantly curtail employment and pitch the economy into a recession. Recession fears generally create selling pressure on risky assets like cryptos and equities, driving prices into bear territory.

Cryptos ceded gains accrued earlier this week around a lower-than-expected Personal Consumption Expenditure Price Index of 0.2% for Nov. 2022. 

At press time, XRP was down about 2.5%, while DOGE fell 3.78%. Solana also declined by 1.1%. Equities markets also tanked, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 0.9%, the S&P 500 1.2%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq slid 1.5%. 

Crypto price heatmap
Source: Coin360

Elsewhere, gold is outshining Bitcoin as an inflation hedge and trading back at its price at the beginning of the year, $1,800 per ounce. By comparison, Bitcoin has fallen 63% in the same period.

Jobs Report and Inflation Still Likely to Influence Crypto Prices

The higher-than-expected Nov. 2022 nonfarm payroll number is the lowest jobs gain since April 2021, coming after a revised increase of 284,000 new jobs in Oct. 2022.

Nonfarm payroll increases in 2022
Source: TradingEconomics

The most significant adjusted increases in the nonfarm payroll were noted in the Feb. 2022 and July 2022 jobs report. The Feb. 2022 report revealed that nonfarm payrolls increased by 714,000 in Jan. 2022, prompting the Fed to step in with a 25 basis-point hike in March. 

The following four reports pointed to a cooling down of the labor market, which then picked up again in June 2022, when the Fed introduced its first 75 basis point hike of 2022.

On Nov. 30, Fed chair Jerome Powell noted that less aggressive rate hikes might be a distinct possibility at the next Fed meeting, although most analysts do not expect a drastic fall off from the last four increases of 0.75%. 

They predict that the Fed will increase interest rates by 50 basis points at the next Federal Open Markets Committee meeting in mid-Dec. 2022, taking the federal funds rate above the 4% mark. 

The Fed meeting will likely spark a rally in both cryptos and stocks if analysts’ estimates prove accurate.

For Be[In] Crypto’s latest Bitcoin (BTC) analysis, click here.

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David Thomas
David Thomas graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, with an Honors degree in electronic engineering. He worked as an engineer for eight years, developing software for industrial processes at South African automation specialist Autotronix (Pty) Ltd., mining control systems for AngloGold Ashanti, and consumer products at Inhep Digital Security, a domestic security company wholly owned by Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy. He has experience writing software in C,...